Obama Expands ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Initiative With $100M To Help Black & Latino Boys Succeed

July 21, 2014  |  


Black and Latino boys have long been disadvantaged at urban school districts. To rectify this, President Obama announced “My Brother’s Keeper” in February, a $200 million five-year initiative to bridge the gap between minorities and their more fortuitous peers. My Brother’s Keeper is now expected to receive an additional $104 million in funding, The New York Times reports.

The program’s new efforts will be sponsored by private and nonprofit organizations such as the NBA, Citi Foundation, and AT&T, The Daily Beast reports — not federal spending. The expansion seeks to include 60 of America’s school districts, all of them representing about 40 percent of minorities living below the poverty line.

My Brother’s Keeper, a program dedicated to improving the lives of African-American and Hispanic boys from pre-K to high school, will increase access to quality pre-schools, keep track of Black and Latino stats in academia, boost the number of minority boys who are placed in gifted, honors, or Advanced Placement courses, cut down on the number of minorities expelled and suspended, and improve the graduation rates of young men of color.

Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, an organization that’s coordinating the initiative’s newest endeavors, says that while a few urban school districts have taken steps towards progress, there’s still much to be done:

“We need to move these numbers and improve these futures as a collective if the nation as a whole is to make any progress on this front. It’s not enough for us to do well in a small number of cities,” Casserly said. “The 50-year anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act reminded us that those great battles of the past were not fought over access to mediocrity. They were fought over access to excellence.”

According to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to attend schools with less skilled teachers and live in school districts that offer fewer math and science classes.

“Boys in particular are at a disadvantage,” the NY Times added. African-American and Hispanic males are less likely to graduate from high school compared to their white and minority female counterparts.

“I am only here because a bunch of folks invested in me,” Obama reminded us in May, according to The Hill. “We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent, and more talent than I had, but nobody is investing in them.”

Today, the President followed this announcement with a town hall where he took questions from the young people who would be directly impacted by this initiative.

“Today, Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria launched the National Convening Council (“NCC”), an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth and nonprofit communities,” reports the Office of the Press Secretary. “Over the next several months, the NCC will travel the country, lifting up examples of cross-sector efforts that are having a positive impact on boys and young men of color.”

You can read more about the different organizations participating in this initiative in the press release here.

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  • A.J.

    I know I may get some flack for this, but it has to be said. When the program was first announced, it was set aside for Black young men. Now it includes Black and Latino young men. (I realize that there are obviously Black Latinos, but for the sake of the argument, I’m counting them as two separate groups.) My thing is, can we as Black people get something that’s JUST for Black people? It seems like whenever an initiative comes along that’s supposedly to help us, other groups start to jump on the bandwagon. There are plenty of programs and scholarships aimed towards helping young Latino men and women succeed. How many of them have widened their net, extending help to young Black men and women? In other words, if the tables were turned, and this initiative were originally launched with Latinos in mind, would they be as inclusive? Even in college, the social uplift clubs for people of color included Black and Latino students, but the latter also has their own exclusive clubs, while it was rare to find the same for African-Americans.

    • FromUR2UB

      We need to be unapologetic about helping our own because we’re the only ones anyone thinks owes explanation for doing that.

      • Kristen

        You’re trying to shift the conversation to now turn “other minorities” into the villains. You said can we have something that’s “Just for us”? You mean just for black men, don’t you? To black men, ” US” means just black men. Helping them & giving them money while black women hold down the communities & work & go to school. Hispanic males don’t need any help. Hispanic males have jobs, black males don’t. Furthermore, black males will work for the Hispanic males in just a few years. The Hispanic males will prevail, just like all other races of males do (except the black male). Black race of males is so pathetic. They always need help.

        • FromUR2UB

          No, Dumb-Dum. First of all, I didn’t say that. How did you read all of that into one sentence? What’s pathetic are women like you who are so angry, that you just sit around hating all black men and resent when they get ANY help. Everybody needs help sometimes. Rich white people didn’t get to where they are all on their own. Hispanic people get help from their own. That was my point.

  • 9Boots

    We black women will just do it on our own. As usual, ain’t nothing new here.

    • A.J.

      Agreed, it’s the same old, same old.

      • 9Boots

        At least will be able to say, “We didn’t get any handouts. We pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps like you mutha fockas insisted.” LOL.

    • Jacina

      We need new men. It’s just sad we’re tied down forever with these losers. At least Hispanic males (and all other kind of males) can hold jobs, can speak English properly, look good. It just feels like, where did we go wrong to be cursed with this group of males? We can’t get rid of them because we’re stuck to each other by race. I’m happy for Latina, Asian, & Pakistani women. At least their men are going somewhere, they’re not dribbling baskballs & can speak properly. I will donate money to Hispanic & Asian men, but not black men. I know Asian & Hispanic men are going to succeed & also I’m tired of the level of disrespect that black males show towards black women. They are violent & they think they’re gods. Gods who don’t work or chip into, they just strut around.

      • 9Boots

        Yes, most BM are a curse. This is why BW must grasp the fact that we do not have to be tied down to them. They s u c k the life out of BW. I consider the majority of them to be hostile aliens from the next galaxy over. Therefore they get no money, no fame, and no sex from me. BW in masse need to follow this path and leave them behind in the dust.

  • 1Val

    “All the women are White. All the BLACKS are men. But some of us are brave.” Gloria T. Hull