Obama To Announce Initiative Focused On Men Of Color, “My Brother’s Keeper”

February 27, 2014  |  

The President at the Grand Canyon. via @WhiteHouse

Today, President Obama will announce a new task force aimed at helping at-risk men and boys of color called “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative that will bring together the leaders of a dozen nonprofits in a show of support. Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, Magic Johnson and other notable organizations will be in the East Room of the White House to announce the $200 million program. The money will be spent over the next five years, going towards early-childhood development, parenting, school readiness and discipline, the justice system, and educational opportunities. The plan is to move forward with programs that have a proven track record of success. The White House would also like to see companies and organizations step forward to offer mentoring opportunities.

The President and First Lady both became interested in this topic after the Trayvon Martin shooting.

“It’s something that’s deeply personal to the President and First Lady. I’m sure their commitment to this initiative will be a lifelong commitment. This is not something they simply want to do while he’s in office — it will continue,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President, has said.

For now, Broderick Johnson, Cabinet secretary and the President’s assistant, will lead up the initiative.

“Young black men persistently lag behind other groups in high school graduation rates and employment, and, as White House officials point out, they are six times more likely than their white peers to be murdered,” reports Yahoo News.

The New York Times notes that the President has taken some heat for what some say is the “languishing” of the black community during Obama’s two terms.

“The data is going to indicate sadly that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category. On that regard, the President ought to be held responsible,” Tavis Smiley said on Fox News.

However, the President has been faced with a largely Republican opposition that has gutted, rejected, or simply failed to address a number of policies and proposals that would strengthen and fund programs that would do exactly what “My Brother’s Keeper” will. The President spoke about the need for universal pre-kindergarten during his State of the Union address, has vowed to bring back the losses from the Voting Rights Act and the Justice Department is working to lower the mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

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