Yesterday President Obama introduced My Brother’s Keeper in a press conference at the White House. A new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead. For decades, opportunity has lagged behind for boys and young men of color.
The idea for My Brother’s Keeper came to him after the killing of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen whose death sparked an even bigger divide of race and in this country. As I read more about My Brother’s Keeper, it really touched my heart because I have two sons. I know as a parent of two African-American men, I will have to raise them and teach them things about the country they live in that other races do not have to deal with. It’s disheartening. Honestly, I am surprised that President Obama is doing something like this while in office. BUT, I am also overjoyed. I think it took a lot for him to take a stand for African-American men and make them a priority while in office, but I am so happy that he sees the need and steps up to the plate.
President Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force. The Task Force will work across executive departments and agencies to:
- Assess the impact of Federal policies, regulations, and programs of general applicability on boys and young men of color, so as to develop proposals that will enhance positive outcomes and eliminate or reduce negative ones.
- Recommend, where appropriate, incentives for the broad adoption by national, State, and local public and private decision makers of effective and innovative strategies and practices for providing opportunities to and improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.
- Create an Administration-wide “What Works” online portal to disseminate successful programs and practices that improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.
- Develop a comprehensive public website, to be maintained by the Department of Education, that will assess, on an ongoing basis, critical indicators of life outcomes for boys and young men of color in absolute and relative terms.
- Work with external stakeholders to highlight the opportunities, challenges, and efforts affecting boys and young men of color.
- Recommend to the President means of ensuring sustained efforts within the Federal Government and continued partnership with the private sector and philanthropic community as set forth in the Presidential Memorandum.
The foundations will work over the next 90 days to design a strategy and infrastructure for coordination of these investments, which can be aligned with additional commitments from a diverse array of actors from other sectors.
Data shows that boys and young men of color, regardless of socio-economic background, are disproportionately at risk throughout the journey from their youngest years to college and career.
The effort launched today is focused on unlocking the full potential of boys and young men of color – something that will not only benefit them, but all Americans.
What do you think?