Boys and Young Men of Color Alignment
The Boys and Young Men of Color Alignment initiative was created to increase academic achievement and job readiness and to develop youth leaders as advocates for change to strengthen and ultimately improve life outcomes for young males of color in the Greater Buffalo community.
The Boys and Young Men of Color Alignment was established in 2016 and is a key initiative of the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable. With the guidance of PolicyLink, a national think tank focused on advancing racial and economic equity, the coalition determined that it would focus on elevating the voices of boys and young men of color by creating a youth leadership council. From there, a Youth Leadership Planning Committee was formed, which included voices of boys and young men of color, to develop the process for applying to the council, a plan for recruitment and the design of the program.
The early success with reaching young men of color caught the attention of a national partner, Cities United, which began working with the Youth Leadership Planning Committee. The young men decided to name the council “Breaking Barriers.” They started recruiting in 2017, and the first class graduated in January 2019. Now, the graduates mentor the next incoming class and continue to stay connected.
With the leadership of Tommy McClam, Say Yes Buffalo’s director of Boys and Young Men of Color Alignment, and Daniel Robertson, Say Yes Buffalo’s manager of Boys and Young Men of Color Alignment, the Breaking Barriers council members have collectively taken an active role responding to numerous crises in our community. The group, for example, was quick to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the horrific racially motivated mass shooting on May 14, 2022. Members of Breaking Barriers host a video podcast where they have wide-ranging conversations with inspirational men of color in the community.
Meet Malik: Amplifying Youth Voice in the Wake of 5/14
Malik and his Breaking Barriers brothers came together in the face of a horrific tragedy to offer each other support and focus on finding solutions to create change in East Buffalo.Read More
Between the World and Me
The Other Wes Moore
Traces of a Trade: A Story from the Deep North
Directed by Katrina Browne, Alla Kovgan and Jude Ray