CNAY Leadership Attends MBK Rising in Oakland

February 18-20, Oakland, California — This week, Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) Executive Director, Erik Stegman, and Associate Director, Nikki Pitre, joined My Brother’s Keeper Rising! (MBK Rising!) in Oakland, California. They were joined by several youth leaders and partner organizations to represent Native young men and boys.

MBK Rising! brought together approximately a thousand of young men of color and change-making organizations to connect and empower the next generation of leaders. President Obama opened the convening with Stephen Curry and John Legend to discuss reducing youth violence, growing mentorship programs, and improving life outcomes.

The event marks the fifth anniversary of the initial launch of My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative started by President Obama following the death of Trayvon Martin. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, now part of the Obama Foundation, leads a national call to action to build safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color.

The convening included a blessing and land recognition from Corrina Gould, a member of the Confederated Villages of the Lisjan/Ohlone. The blessing can be viewed here.

CNAY joined Angelique Albert, Executive Director of the American Indian Graduate Center; Geneva Wiki, Senior Program Manager at The California Endowment; Javier Kinney, Executive Director of the Yurok Tribe’s Office of Self-Governance; and Kara Bobroff and Mahpiya Black Elk of Native American Community Academy to lead a session entitled, “Indigenous Strategies to Support Native Boys and Young Men.”

The session focused on promising methods used throughout Indian Country to empower Native young men and boys. Participants shared their tribal community best practices and reflected on the data and outcomes on Native young men and boys. This was the only session dedicated for mentoring and empowering young Native men and boys.

In the closing session, Erik stood alongside several directors of national organizations. Erik spoke about the importance of including and empowering Native young men and boys.

“My call to action is simple,” said Stegman. “It is to remember Native people in these struggles and to invite them tobe at your table.”

“If you are in a campaign, a rally, or at your social justice table, and you do not see our [Native] young men and leaders in that room, ask why, and reach out,” Stegman continued. “We are here to join your movement.”

Kendrick was able to thank the President for his work with Native peoples and empowering young leaders through programs such as the Gen-I Network and the
MBK Alliance.

“President Obama created my platform and I am forever grateful,” said Eagle.

CNAY thanks its partners, the MBK Alliance and the Obama Foundation, for their dedication to improving the lives of Native young men and boys through narrative sharing, cultural empowerment, and mentoring.

Learn more about the MBK Alliance on the Obama Foundation website here.

View more highlights from MBK Rising!, including video, here.