Today President Obama will kick off “My Brother’s Keeper,” a new White House initiative to change the terrible odds for boys and young men of color who are trying to make it to adulthood.
“The data proves it,” says the My Brother’s Keeper landing page. “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.” At risk for what? The White House doesn’t say it in so many words but the answer is plain: at risk for growing up in a deeply racially stratified society which criminalizes black and brown boys and men. Black and Latino boys lag behind their non-black and non-Latino peers in reading proficiency but are overrepresented among homicide victims.
The initiative has two parts. It’ll include a task force which will examine the impact that federal policies and programs have on boys and young men of color, “so as to develop proposals that will enhance positive outcomes and eliminate or reduce negative ones.” The task force will put together recommendations for national, state and local agencies to support boys and young men of color. The Department of Education will also manage a public website which will assess important factors contributing to the life outcomes of boys and young men of color.
Separately, a group of philanthropic foundations is today announcing a $200 million investment over the next five years to support programs aimed at nurturing and supporting black and Latino boys and young men, and President Obama plans to meet with Adam Silver of the NBA, Joe Echevarria, CEO of Deloitte, and Magic Johnson and other businesspeople to involve the private sector in the initiative.
“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,” the White House said in a statement.