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Young men who are tired of barriers decide to move obstacles on their own

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 18:29:01-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A group of 50 young men between the age of 12 and 24 have all come together over the past year to work on a special project.

The Breaking Barriers Youth Leadership Council has been serving the greater Buffalo area by working to ‘create a unified voice that advocates for racial equity, social justice, and policy change’ and will have its first cohort graduation this upcoming Saturday.

This program is in its first year, but started four years ago when Mayor Byron Brown accepted a challenge from former president Barack Obama to become a “My Brother’s Keeper” city.

It’s an initiative aimed at combating absences in schools and working towards success for young men of color.

The groups purpose is to target practices and policies that they say hold back men of color and advocate for changing them through lobbying in front of lawmakers, studying policy, and investigating opportunities to change institutionalized practices.

This year the council tackled three polices they say disproportionately disadvantage people of color:

  • transportation, specifically between BPS and the NFTA and the hours students were allowed to use their bus passes
  • access to advance course offerings in all schools

Program coordinator Daniel Robertson told 7 Eyewitness News “the premise of it is really built on youth-adult partnerships.”

The cohort is ‘graduating’ this weekend, but on the hook for one more year of mentorship to the next group of young men who current members are responsible for recruiting.

The ceremony will be at the Buffalo State College Alumni & Visitor Center from 1-3 p.m. January 19, 2019.

Email Madison at madison.carter@wkbw.com, and keep up with her latest posts and stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.