In 2014, President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and remove the barriers to goal attainment. When discussing men of color and education, oftentimes, the topic is discussed using a deficit framework detailing a lack of access to education, lack of motivation and the school-to-prison pipeline. However, there is an abundance of research that refutes the deficit narrative and disrupts the salient discourse focusing on the underachievement of Black men. Specifically, Black male college students have been and are successful in academic domains. The issue is not an achievement gap, yet, as President Obama stated, an opportunity and resource gap. Support systems must be developed to nurture the intelligence, creativity, resilience and evolution of Black male college students.
The Office of Black Student Achievement was brought in to address these gaps. Honoring the mission and vision of President Obama, Georgia State adopted the name My Brother’s Keeper for Georgia State’s African American Male Initiative. The goal of My Brother’s Keeper or MBK GSU is to nurture a community focused on the personal, educational and professional needs and development of Black males. MBK GSU aims to accomplish these goals through one-on-one and group mentorship, connecting students to research, scholarships and job opportunities, introducing students to a network of community partners and, most importantly, connecting students to one another.
As the largest African American Male Initiative in the University System of Georgia, MBK GSU seeks to support and cultivate a community of Black male scholars from all majors and enrollment statuses and develop them as leaders and change agents in their respective fields. The program’s specific goals include academic skills enrichment, student support services, adult and peer mentoring and leadership development. MBK GSU grounds its work in inclusive excellence, positive psychology and vertical mentoring. Black males are multifaceted and have multiple social identities, and we celebrate MBK GSU members by reminding them of their strengths and creating environments where they learn as both mentee and mentor.
Educational resources are provided through experiential learning opportunities such as research assistantships and support, internships, civic engagement, graduate school and career preparation and scholarships. Student support, mentoring and leadership development goals are achieved through the collective strength and creation of community-centric resources and collaborative environments.
As a member of the My Brother's Keeper Georgia State University cohort, students will:
- learn how to leverage their strengths to enhance their personal, academic and professional success
- discover methods to make healthy decisions, including but not limited to, psychological, physical, relational, financial health
- develop a working knowledge of research, internships, graduate school, study abroad and learning and career opportunities available in their field
- enhance and develop leadership skills;
- build a network of peers and professionals in their field, and
- develop strategies to address complex challenges in their field.
Wholly funded through donations from members of Decatur First United Methodist Church, the John Lewis Scholarship will be awarded annually beginning in Fall 2022. First proposed by Decatur First United Methodist member and Georgia State University senior lecturer and alumnus Michael Paul Black (M.S. ’04, Ph.D. ’05), the John Lewis Scholarship was conceived by the church’s leadership council in the summer of 2020 to honor Rep. Lewis’s life and impact. Make a gift to the John Lewis Scholarship at giving.gsu.edu/johnlewis.
To be eligible for the scholarship, individuals must be participants in My Brother’s Keeper, be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need. Learn more about My Brother’s Keeper at Georgia State and the ways you can support it at honors.gsu.edu/mbkgsu.
Black Student Achievement
P.O. Box 3973
Atlanta, Ga. 30303-3973
Package Delivery Service Only:
Black Student Achievement
Student Center East
55 Gilmer Street
Atlanta, Ga. 30303