Last week, Mayor Ed Murray signed legislation to authorize $300,000 to support the launch of the Our Best initiative . Our Best is the City of Seattle’s first ever initiative specifically focused on improving life outcomes for young Black men and boys, specifically in the following areas: education, economic mobility, health, safety and positive connections to caring adults. The initiative represents an investment by Mayor Murray to address the disproportionate impact of institutional racism on Black people, and particularly young Black men and boys. Positive Connections is one of the Phase I priority pillars of work, which has an established goal of doubling the number of Black men mentoring young Black men and boys through formal mentoring programs.
“Mentoring has been shown to improve emotional well-being, high-school graduation rates, college enrollment, and other positive long-term outcomes. In Seattle, there are not enough Black men mentors, leaving many mentor programs ill-equipped to support young Black men in culturally responsive ways. And, there is significant interest among local organizations to recruit more. Our goal with this new commitment of the Our Best program is to double the number of black men mentors. Our Best is all of ours. And the fight for young Black men is a fight for Seattle, and our region.”
The mentorship pilot program will run for one year starting in July 2017. Additionally, the Our Best initiative involves the creation of an advisory Mayor’s Council on Black Male Achievement to include members of local academic, governmental, business, and faith communities.
For more information regarding the Our Best Advisory Council and/or supporting the mentorship program should reach out to Anthony Shoecraft at Anthony.Shoecraft@Seattle.gov or visit murray.seattle.gov/ourbest.