The last 2 years of my life have been a race against time to improve my son Jair’s reading levels, knowing that private prison executives will be using the test scores of his 3rd grade class to plan how many prison cells to build in the future.

I do not want them building a prison cell for my son.

I know that this is not happening only to Jair - that I am not the only mother who fears the plans that others have for our boys of color – and that even our President is concerned.

In March, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, prioritizing the success of boys and men of color. For the last 90 days, he has been looking to organizations and congregations like ours to better understand how to successfully implement projects that help our communities live free.

On Friday, June 6th, we will be taking our stories of faith in action directly to the White House.

Join with us in showing our President that we are our brother’s keepers. Send us a photo by Wednesday, June 4th, of yourself and those you love with a sign stating, “I am #MyBrothersKeeper” and we will deliver it to the President.

Every day, I work hard to make sure my son is caught up and excelling in school - preparing him for a dorm room instead of a prison cell. But I also want our President to fix what our congregations and community members have been experiencing and fighting against for years: broken systems of violence, incarceration and poverty that disproportionately impact students of color, robbing them of a road map to an open future.

Too often, opportunity has been replaced with a detour, landing many of our students of color in direct contact with law enforcement agencies. But our congregations are rising up to change this.

In Oakland and Fresno, CA, clergy embark weekly on night walks in some of the most high-crime communities, to demonstrate love and peace, and they have worked with police to implement Ceasefire strategies. As a result, we have seen double digit drops in gun homicide rates.

Florida clergy and community leaders are building an amazing movement to restore voting rights for 1.5 million disenfranchised citizens. In Minnesota faith leaders are working to secure a place for students of color in the classroom, where they belong, and to change arbitrary suspension policies.

In the next two weeks, our President will review the findings of the last 90 days of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative; we want to insert ourselves into this public debate by amplifying your stories of hope and healing.

Join with our federations and congregations to show the President that we know what it takes to be our Brother’s Keeper by lifting up the amazing victories we are having in local communities.

Send us a photo with a sign reading, “I am #MyBrother’sKeeper” by June 4th, and finish this sentence: "I am working to be #MyBrothersKeeper by..."

Then, on June 6th, we will deliver these photos and stories to our President.

Today is Jair’s last day of school, and he is finishing this year reading above grade level. I am so proud of him. And while we celebrate today, I also know that this is just one of many challenges my son will have to face as a young man of color.

Together, we will continue to fight to create futures full of opportunity for my son and all of our sons!

In Solidarity,


Andrea Marta
Campaign Manager - Lifelines to Healing Campaign
PICO National Network