Tulsa is one of four cities designated by The Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance to be a Model Community. Model Communities have shown large-scale transformation in one of the six focus areas for MBK. Tulsa’s leaders, institutions and partners recently said, “More is possible,” as we all committed to a journey to support boys and young men of color in partnership with the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative. This initiative, undertaken with students, families, districts, local government, businesses, nonprofits, and various stakeholders, is not just a task … it’s a commitment to action. Dr. Adren Wilson, executive director of the national My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, encapsulates the essence of this endeavor, emphasizing, “This work is important to do; it is possible to do, and it’s ours to do.”
Tulsa has charted the path for change over the next five years by establishing specific, measurable, attainable, aspirational, relevant, time-bound, inclusive, and equitable goals. These goals aim to address and improve outcomes across all six My Brother’s Keeper milestones. The focus is intentional, directed towards boys and young men of color who are identified as being at the highest need for intervention. The commitment to achieving population-level results is not just admirable; it’s inspiring.
Five-year goals as set by community leaders and stakeholders include:
- Increase Pre-K enrollment among boys and young men of color students in Tulsa from 68% to 77% by December 2028.
- Increase reading proficiency rates of boys of color in third grade (with an emphasis on Black and Hispanic male students) in Tulsa county from 18% to 35% (as measuredby OSTP scores) by December 2028.
- Increase graduation rates of boys and young men of color in Tulsa county from 80.6% to 90% (+), by December 2028.
- Increase earned post secondary opportunity credentials among boys and young men of color in Tulsa county from 20% to 30% by December 2028.
- Increase the percentage of Tulsa County high school graduates (with an emphasis on schools in target districts with the greatest opportunity for improving college enrollment rates for BYMOC) enrolling in Oklahoma colleges from 46% to 56% by December 2028.
- Increase labor force participation among boys and young men of color between the ages of 16-24 in Tulsa County from 63% to 74% by December 2028.
- Decrease unemployment among boys and young men of color between the ages of 16-24 in Tulsa County from 6.4% to 1% by December 2028.
- Decrease homicide mortality rate in Tulsa from 11.9% to 5.7%* by 2028.
With goals established, the next critical step is to design and implement evidence-based strategies to realize our collective envisioned transformation. Kendall Rimmer, MBK manager, will spearhead this phase, leading the collective of organizations and entities towards the successful execution of our vision.
Organizations are encouraged to actively participate in the development and implementation of evidence-based strategies. Designating a team member as the main contact who is equally committed and has decision-making authority and work aligned with the milestone goals, is paramount. This individual will play a pivotal role in the upcoming monthly sessions through June 2024. During these collaborative sessions, team members will work together to identify, design, and implement strategies supporting boys and young men of color in Tulsa.
Local organizations represented at our goal-setting session included: School district partners from Union and Tulsa Public Schools, Madison Strategies, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Higher Education Consortium, Terence Crutcher Foundation, Reading Partners, Green Country Works, OSU Tulsa, inTulsa, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Met Church Tulsa, Oklahoma Policy Institute, Center for Employment Opportunities, Campus Tulsa, Gaining Ground Literacy, Modus, City Of Tulsa, Youth Services of Tulsa, Opportunity Project, and Teach Not Punish.
Tulsa’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative represents a beacon of hope and possibility for the community. By setting ambitious goals, mobilizing stakeholders, and implementing evidence-based strategies, the city is poised to make a lasting impact on the lives of boys and young men of color. As the community rallies together under the banners of #MyBrothersKeeperTulsa and #ImpactinAction, Tulsa emerges as a shining example of a community that is not just dreaming of change but actively working towards it. The journey has begun, and the potential for transformation is boundless.
#ImpactinAction #MyBrothersKeeperTulsa #MBKTulsa #Tulsa #IAmMyBrothersKeeper
Learn more about the author (right in the photo) below:
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, BerThaddaeus Bailey is the eleventh child of the late Reverend, Dr. Bertrand Maurice Bailey Sr., and Mrs. Juandalyn Joan Bailey. He is the first student to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public and Business Administration from The University of Oklahoma (OU), simultaneously.
During his academic tenure at OU, he was featured on CNN, MSNBC and Good Morning America as a representative for the student body as the Director of Diversity addressing racial tensions that followed a tumultuous event on campus. In the aftermath, he was extremely instrumental in implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives on OU’s campus. Upon graduation, BerThaddaeus was requested to return to the university to serve as a part-time adjunct professor, instructing a course on “Cultural Awareness”.
Professionally, for the past 5 years, BerThaddaeus has served as a Senior policy analyst for the State of Oklahoma’s health care and child support programs. He has assisted the State in securing over $100 million in federal funding to support a plethora of Oklahoma’s health care initiatives.
BerThaddaeus has been deeply engaged in community work. He is the founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Speaks 4 You, Inc., where he and other financial experts assist students from underprivileged backgrounds in achieving scholarships for their college education. He also founded the Dr. Jerome B. Wade Scholarship (named in memory of his childhood mentor), which has successfully awarded thousands of dollars in financial support to graduating seniors in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
BerThaddaeus is a proud member of the oldest, boldest, and coldest intercollegiate Greek letter fraternity for Black men, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
BerThaddaeus’ gift of organizational leadership, speaking, and policy planning and development has afforded him extraordinary opportunities. In 2015 he served as a Congressional Intern in Washington, DC, with the Congressional Black Caucus for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee.
However, his proudest achievement came in March of 2018, when he married the love of his life, JaQuitta Danielle Bailey. JaQuitta is one of few Blacks working in meteorology at Weathernews America. In December of 2020, they welcomed their first daughter and princess, Amara Bailey.
When asked about his lifelong aspirations and goals, humbly he responds, “If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, then my living will not be in vain.”