Ossining started a My Brother’s Keeper chapter at Ossining High School four years ago with a handful of students. Since then, the program has expanded to three more schools – Anne M. Dorner Middle School, Roosevelt School (grade 5) and Claremont School (grades 3-4) – and boasts an enrollment of about 120 boys and young men of color.
The Ossining community gathered Dec. 16 at the middle school to celebrate My Brother’s Keeper scholars and the MBK movement’s growth in the schools and community.
MBK is a nationwide initiative to connect boys and young men or color with support networks and address opportunity gaps. It was founded by President Barack Obama in 2014 and has been in Ossining schools since 2017.
Board of Regents Chancellor Lester Young, the first African-American leader of the state board, congratulated students, staff and families for the success. In addressing students, families and school district staff, he referenced the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s Blueprint speech to middle school students 54 years ago.
“Everyone should have a blueprint,” he said. “And the first, the very first, item in your blueprint has to be a deep belief in your own personal dignity. In other words, you have to believe in yourself. You can’t make anyone make you feel like you are no one.”
Superintendent Raymond Sanchez, Board of Education President Graig Galef and Trustee Melissa Banta and others also spoke at the event.
MBK Fellow Nicholas-Ajani Davis, who introduced Chancellor Young, said MBK at Ossining High School has been a great experience for him so far, from taking cooking lessons from a chef to having peers and advisers to talk with about school life and any difficulties they encounter. “It’s been a fun experience and also I’m part of the wider network for the MBK,” he said.