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Birmingham Alabama Keeping My Brother's Keeper Alive!

On September 9, 2014 in Birmingham Alabama, the partnership commitment to My Brother’s Keeper was no more evident from two sitting Secretaries, from Businesses, foundations, faith leaders, community leaders, parents, and educators who assembled to express their intentions to help young men and ladies of color get a strong start in school and life by connecting them to mentoring, support networks, and specialized skills they need to go to college, find a good job, and work their way up into middle class and beyond.

The participating Birmingham City Schools students and alumni were asked by Secretary Duncan  “If they could speak directly to President Obama, what would they tell him?” Several echoed the recommendation to implement policies that provide students more peer support, better funding for nonprofits that promote minority education, and equal access to technology for all students.

These were just a few of the many suggestions the students made to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro heard during a My Brother’s Keeper roundtable discussion hosted by Mayor Bell at J.H. Phillips Academy.  The roundtable discussion consisted of the following students and organization representatives:

  • Growing Kings: Kendrick McKinney, a senior at A.H. Parker High School, and Cedric Howard, a junior at Ramsey High School.
  • Birmingham Education Foundation: Walter Carr and SheLah Shreve, both students at Carver High School.
  • Impact Alabama: Maia Norris, a Ramsey High School senior, and Christopher Pilgrom, a Ramsey High School freshman, and
  • INROADS: Julian Sinclair, an INROADS graduate, JaNaye M. Norman, a University of Alabama at Birmingham INROADS intern.

Secretary Duncan visited Alabama as part of his annual Back-to-School Bus Tour.  “The theme of this year’s tour is “Partners in Progress” meant to highlight state commitments to encourage reform and innovation and help all students achieve success” according to today’s feature story columnist Evan Belanger.

During the discussion, students touted the importance of young people serving as leaders to their peer groups to ensure minority students have access to opportunities and don’t waste talent.

Secretary Duncan called the students inspiring, hard–working and committed during a post-discuss press conference in front of the Partners In Progress Bus.

Comments and additional videos of Secretary Duncan’s Bus Tours around the country can be submitted to OGTV ( For inquiry, please email us at and

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