Mayor Jim Kenney announced his appointment of the Rev. Michael Robinson of to the Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males on Tuesday.
Robinson is the director of community outreach with the Office of Human Resources at Temple and serves as the senior pastor at Greater Enon Missionary Baptist Church at 22nd and Berks streets.
Established by former Mayor Michael Nutter in 2014, the commission was brought together to address issues that African American boys and men face in Philadelphia. According to a recommendation report written in 2014, the purpose of the commission is to “address the systemic issues facing the African-American community in our great city.”
The commission was not originally a permanent committee, but after Nutter’s recommendation to put it on the ballot in the 2016 general election, it became a permanent, 30-seat committee.
“[Robinson] goes above and beyond,” said Ernest Alston, the human resources coordinator. “I’ve seen him go downtown and buy kids T-shirts for jobs.”
Alston described some of Robinson’s involvement in the community, including working with juvenile offenders to expunge their criminal records and instructing an eight-week workshop aimed at teaching, resume writing, interview preparation and other employment skills.
“He is a model of integrity in the African American community particularly among African-American men,” said LaTroy Dixon, a minister at Robinson’s church. “I’ve known him for 10 to 15 years and he is the same person now as he was when I met him: consistent and with integrity. He believes in speaking positively to African-American men in the community.”
Robinson said he plans to use his experience in education and employment to further the efforts of the commission.
“[The commission will] provide services and information to promote African American male achievement in the city,” Robinson said.
He added his focus will be on issues like jobs and education during his time on the commission.
“I appreciate the vote of confidence by Mayor Kenney in recommending and appointing me to MCAAM,” Robinson wrote later in an email. “Education, employment and family values are important issues that I’ve championed most of my life and I intend to leverage my success in those [areas] to advance the mission and objectives of MCAAM.”
The commission has plans in place to form policy recommendations in the areas of education, criminal justice, communication, economic development and health. The commission will work closely with the mayor and the community to put those plans into action.
Using his experience at Temple, Robinson said that he will work to “impart information on financial aid to help [African American men] succeed at not only the high school level, but at the collegiate level.”
“The public and media needs to focus on African American males really performing significant work in this city,” Robinson said. “I hope to play a small part and contribute where I can.”
Amanda Lien and Sonny Mazzone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.