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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.

Breaking Barriers – A Boys and Young Men of Color Initiative

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.

Official Website


  • Alpha Phi Alpha
  • Belle Center
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Boys to Men
  • BRICK Education Network
  • Bryant & Stratton
  • Buffalo City Council
  • Buffalo PAL
  • Buffalo Public Schools
  • Buffalo State College
  • City of Buffalo
  • Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • Crews Control Media
  • Destiny Church
  • Elim Community Corp
  • Erie County
  • First Shiloh Baptist Church
  • Friends for a Better Buffalo
  • HOPE
  • Legislative Assistant to Ulysees Wingo, Sr.
  • Medaille College
  • Men of Merit
  • Missionary Church of Christ
  • Native American Comm. Center
  • New Life World Harvest / Born to Win Leadership Program
  • New Methodist Church
  • Northland
  • Primera Iglesia Metodista
  • Prince of Peace Church
  • Prisoners Are People Too
  • Read to Succeed
  • Renovation Church
  • RK Lawn Care & Plowing
  • Salvation Army Hispanic Church
  • Say Yes to Education
  • The Service Collaborative of WNY, Inc.
  • United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
  • Buffalo Urban League
  • WIN Program – Soros Fellow


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Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Partner Website

Breaking Barriers – Boys & Young Men of Color


Herd Invisibility: The Psychology of Racial Privilege

L. Taylor Phillips and Brian S. Lowery

Partner Website


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The Other Wes Moore

Wes Moore

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Traces of a Trade: A Story from the Deep North

Directed by Katrina Browne, Alla Kovgan and Jude Ray