By Jaylyn Galloway
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
Sometimes, Abdul Conde worries that even by going to school and doing everything he has to do, he will still be behind in pay.
“As a young person of color I want to see a change in the wage gap because right now it is unfair,” Conde, a Lansing resident, said.
Helping ensure that Conde gets a fair chance is part of the motivation behind the city of Lansing’s participation in President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, now in its second year here.
“This year for the challenge we are focusing on closing the racial economic gaps in the community,” Angela Waters Austin, the CEO of One Love Global, said. “We have milestones that goes from a person’s birth to their 25th birthday and this helps to come up with strategies to close gaps of young men of color and other beings left behind.”
Milestone include focusing on closing the opportunity gap in getting youths into the workforce and focusing on violence prevention and helping youths have a second chance to talk to law enforcement, according to the news release.
Back in October 2014 Mayor Virg Bernero accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge (MBK) for the Lansing community. In July 2015 the Ingham County Board of Commissioners accepted the MBK Community Challenge by resolution, making MBK one of the first regional initiatives in the country in over 200 cities, according to the My Brother’s Keeper news release.
President Obama laid out a playbook for either a mayor, tribal leader or anyone in the top government to look at the data of local men of color in the community, Austin said. The data helps to show the leaders how their systems can help to close their gaps in institutions.
In 2009 Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act which allows victims of pay discrimination to file a complaint with the government against their employer, according to The Wage Gap By Gender and Race Statistics Report.
Historically structural racism is based on how people view each other either in either work, life, and personally, said Austin, who believes it is necessary to dismantle racism for youths or there will be no change.
“What a person looks like obviously has nothing to do with their capability of completing the tasks at hand,” Brittany Wilson, a Lansing resident, said.
Looking at the gaps between pay is important because everyone deserves the same chance and in this day and age we shouldn’t have the gaps anyway, Wilson said. It is so important for youths of all races to start to see that in life no one should be ahead of the other based on their skin color.
“The program helps to give voices to the colored young and families showing how racism affects their lives,” Austin said
The MBK will be hosting the 2016 forum on 21st Century Policing for the Black Lives Matter movement at 6 p.m. at the Lansing Public Media Center on March 24.