My Brother’s Keeper: A New White House Initiative To Empower Boys And Young Men Of Color


 

By Jueseppi B.

mybrotherskeeper

 

 

 

The White House Blog

 

My Brother’s Keeper: A New White House Initiative to Empower Boys and Young Men of Color

 

Valerie Jarrett, Broderick Johnson
February 27, 2014
10:26 AM EST

 

A student eyes the Emancipation Proclamation as the President gave students from William R. Harper High School in Chicago a tour of the Oval Office.A student eyes the Emancipation Proclamation as the President gave students from William R. Harper High School in Chicago a tour of the Oval Office, June 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Today, from the East Room of the White House, President Obama will launch a new effort aimed at empowering boys and young men of color, a segment of our society which too often faces disproportionate challenges and obstacles to success. These obstacles are found in our schools, our communities, our criminal justice system, our families, and even in the minds of our young people themselves. The President is committed to build a broad coalition of backers to help break down barriers, clear pathways to opportunity, and reverse troubling trends which show too many of our boys and young men of color slipping through the cracks in our society.

 

To launch the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, the President will be joined by local and national leaders in philanthropy, business, government, faith communities, and media.  The challenges facing boys and young men of color are broad and multidimensional, and so must be the team we bring to the table to begin fostering solutions.

 

On hand today will be General Colin Powell, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Adam Silver, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, Magic Johnson, and many more leaders from key national and regional philanthropic foundations and major businesses, all of whom understand what is at stake with this effort.  When we let this many boys and young men fall behind – we are crippling our ability to reach our full potential as a nation.

 

For decades, opportunity has disproportionately lagged behind for boys and young men of color – particularly in our African American and Latino communities.  As recently as 2013, only 14 percent of black boys and 18 percent of Hispanic boys scored proficient or above on the 4th grade reading component of the National Assessment of Educational Progress compared to 42 percent of white boys and 21 percent of black and Hispanic girls. Youth who cannot read “proficiently” by third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school by 19.

 

By the time students have reached 9th grade, 42 percent of black male students have been suspended or expelled during their school years, compared to 14 percent of white male students. While black youth account for 16 percent of the youth population, they represent 28 percent of juvenile arrests, and 37 percent of the detained population. While just over 6 percent of the overall population, black males of all ages accounted for 43 percent of murder victims in 2011.

 

The fraction of young men not working or enrolled in school is nearly twice as high for blacks than whites. Those neither working nor in school are not building the skills and experience needed to ensure their ability to succeed later in life.

 

Across the country, communities are developing and implementing promising and proven approaches to help put our young people on paths to opportunity and success.  Using intensive tutoring, the Becoming A Man program and the University of Chicago are demonstrating that dramatic improvements in math performance can be cost effectively made with middle school boys in Chicago.

 

The Miami public school system is serving thousands of students in dozens of schools with targeted interventions to lower dropout rates.

 

Restorative Justice programs used in Los Angeles contributed to a 38 percent reduction in suspensions, cutting black student suspensions in half.

 

In New York, the Young Men’s Initiative is validating the significant impacts the ASAP program is having on the college persistence rates of African American and Latino young men. These efforts are cause not only for hope, but for a renewed sense of urgency. As we learn more about what works, our resolve to act now must strengthen.  This initiative is about building on successes and promising ideas in the field by testing, implementing, and scaling-up strategies which have been shown to have the greatest impact at key moments in these boys’ lives.

 


 

A New Presidential Task Force to Expand Opportunity.

President Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum today, establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, an interagency effort, chaired by the Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, that will help us determine what public and private efforts are working and how to expand upon them.

 

The Task Force will work across executive departments and agencies to:

 

  • Assess and suggest improvements to Federal policies, regulations, and programs that apply to boys and young men of color.
  • Create an Administration-wide “What Works” online portal to disseminate programs and practices that improve outcomes for boys and young men of color, while promoting incentives for private and public entities to develop and adopt strategies that have been proven to be effective.
  • 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.
  • Recommend to the President means for ensuring this effort is sustained for years to come within government and across public and private sectors.

 

Key Investments by Leading Foundations and Businesses

The foundations supporting today’s call to action have already made extensive investments, including $150 million in current spending that they have already approved or awarded. Building on that, today these foundations are announcing that over the next five years they seek to invest at least $200 million, alongside additional investments from their peers in philanthropy and the business community, to find and rapidly spread solutions that have the highest potential for impact in key areas.

 

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.

 


 

This is just the start of an effort that will continue to build over the coming months and years. When research clearly shows us a problem that needs fixing, it is our responsibility as leaders to band together to start implementing solutions. When we do – we will not only see better outcomes for boys and young men of color, we will see the entire country begin to fulfill its full potential.

 

Learn more about the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

 

 

Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. Broderick Johnson is Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary.

 

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On Thursday, the President will host an event on his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

 

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3:25 PM: The President delivers remarks on the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, The East Room.

 

FACT SHEET: Opportunity for all: President Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to Build Ladders of Opportunity For Boys and Young Men of Color

 

 

February 27, 2014 3:25 PM EST

President Obama Speaks on the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

The White House, watch on White House LIVE!! Streaming.

 

 

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FACT SHEET: Opportunity for all: President Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to Build Ladders of Opportunity For Boys and Young Men of Color

 

“I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential.”

 

– President Barack Obama, January 28, 2014

 

“There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement.  And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”

 

– President Barack Obama, July 19, 2013

 

President Obama is taking action to launch My Brother’s Keeper – 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.  But across the country, communities are adopting approaches to help put these boys and young men on the path to success. The President wants to build on that work. We can learn from communities that are partnering with local businesses and foundations to connect these boys and young men to mentoring, support networks, and skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way up into the middle class. And the Administration will do its part by helping to identify and promote programs that work.

 

That starts by using proven tools that expand opportunity at key moments in the lives of these young people.  The President believes this includes ensuring access to basic health, nutrition, and to high-quality early education to get these kids reading and ready for school at the youngest age.  But that’s not enough.  We need to partner with communities and police to reduce violence and make our classrooms and streets safer.  And we need to help these young men stay in school and find a good job– so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to their communities and build decent lives for themselves and their families.

 

New Presidential Task Force to Expand Opportunity. President Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, an interagency effort, chaired by Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, that will help us determine what public and private efforts are working and how to expand upon them, how the Federal Government’s own policies and programs can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community in these efforts.

 

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.

 

Investments from Leading Foundations and Businesses to Advance the Achievement of Boys and Young Men of Color.  Leading foundations and businesses have long worked with others in philanthropy to create opportunities for young men and boys of color and today are committing significant resources to research critical intervention points in the lives of boys and young men of color; change the often-damaging narrative about them; and catalyze coordinated investments to seed, replicate, and scale up effective community solutions.

 

The foundations supporting today’s call to action have already made extensive investments, including  $150 million in current spending that they have already approved or awarded. Building on that, today these foundations are announcing that over the next five years they seek to invest at least $200 million, alongside additional investments from their peers in philanthropy and the business community, to find and rapidly spread solutions that have the highest potential for impact in key areas, including: early child development and school readiness, parenting and parent engagement, 3rd grade literacy, educational opportunity and school discipline reform, interactions with the criminal justice system ladders to jobs and economic opportunity and healthy families and communities.

 

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.

 

These foundations, who are joining President Obama at today’s announcement, include The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The California Endowment, The Ford Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Open Society Foundations, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Kapor Center for Social Impact. Many of the foundations are members of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color – a coalition of philanthropic institutions committed to leveraging philanthropy’s role in improving life outcomes for boys and men of color.

 

In addition to the leadership from the philanthropic community, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative will leverage participation from the business community and elected officials to support this cross-sector effort.  As part of today’s announcement, President Obama will meet with a number of business leaders – including Joe Echevarria of Deloitte, Magic Johnson of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Glenn Hutchins of Silver Lake Partners, Adam Silver of the National Basketball Association and Thomas Tull of Legendary Entertainment – to discuss ways in which they and their companies can work with the Initiative to improve the life outcomes of boys and young men of color.

 

The President will also be joined today by public sector leaders including General Colin Powell, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Honorable Michael Bloomberg.  Additionally, several other prominent members of the business community—including Rosalind Brewer of Sam’s Club, Ken Chenault of American Express, and Don Thompson of McDonald’s—have already expressed their support for this effort, and the White House expects additional commitments in the coming days and months.

 

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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.  For instance, large disparities remain in reading proficiency, with 86 percent of black boys and 82 percent of Hispanic boys reading below proficiency levels by the fourth grade – compared to 58 percent of white boys reading below proficiency levels.  Additionally, the disproportionate number of black and Hispanic young men who are unemployed or involved in the criminal justice system alone is a perilous drag on state budgets, and undermines family and community stability.  These young men are more than six times as likely to be victims of murder than their white peers and account for almost half of the country’s murder victims each year.

 

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 Task Force and new private sector partnership will take a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to building ladders of opportunity.  Both the Task Force and the partnership will take action immediately while planning for long-term success.

 

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8 Responses

  1. I applaud this movement forward. I just wish it was more and expanded to the young women who are also at risk, in the same schools and in the same neighborhoods. I just wish it was more and longer than the term of this President. It is a great start though.

  2. […] My Brother’s Keeper: A New White House Initiative To Empower Boys And Young Men Of Color […]

  3. […] My Brother’s Keeper: A New White House Initiative To Empower Boys And Young Men Of Color | The Oba…. […]

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