My Brother’s Keeper: President Obama Answers The Call Of Black America
In an effort to help right some of the social wrongs that plague many of our communities President Obama unveiled the My Brother’s Keeper initiative earlier today in a press conference at the White House. This new program is aimed specifically at African American and Latino males who want to find their way to a successful path in life. The president outlined his plans for change while speaking in front of a group of people in the East Wing of the White House.
With this new plan, President Obama clearly understands that there are issues going on within our communities that are posing direct threats to young men of color. These threats are causing the young men to be inadequately prepared for their future. The My Brother’s Keeper initiative points at data that proves “boys and young men of color — regardless of where they come from — are disproportionately at risk from their youngest years through college and the early stages of their professional lives.” These risks include higher rates of homicide than their white counterparts, higher rates of school suspension than their white counterparts, and lower rates of literacy than their white peers.
With this new plan, President Obama is doing something that has never been done by any prior president. He is acknowledging that there are people in our communities who need help, and he is offering palpable solutions for them.
The president will partner with leading businesses and foundations to take a “collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color.” These partnerships seemingly will be productive in helping the government create new problems to help young men of color and eliminate those that hinder them.
There will be two parts to the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. A federal task force will be created to determine which programs that are in place now are working, and which ones are not. This task force will also create national, state, and local recommendations for organizations to support minority young men.
This initiative isn’t just bunch of ideas being thrown around. Folks are taking action! A group of philanthropic foundations including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the California Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the John R. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Kapor Center for Social Impact, the Open Society Foundations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bloomberg Philanthropies have all agreed to invest $200 million into programs that support minority young men over the next five years. The president has also brought businessmen like Magic Johnson, Joe Echevarria of Deloitte, and Adam Silver of the NBA into the fold to help with this project as well.
My Brother’s Keep is more than just a proposition, its a call to action. It’s the President’s way of saying that it’s time for a real change. He is creating ways for the kids out there who need help to get what they have been looking for. This program isn’t just going to help young men of color. It’s going to help everyone in America. There will be a bigger emphasis on education, job training, mentoring, and more of the things that young men today can use to help them prosper.
This isn’t stop and frisk, or a three strike law that throws young men away after they’ve made a mistake two. This, my friend is President Obama affectionately giving the black community something that we can feel. Something that we can be proud of. Something that we can use as a stepping stone to create more leaders and individuals of positive influence to make a difference in this world for years to come. This is what being a true visionary and leader is all about.