Obama's My Brother's Keeper Program Aims to Help Young Black Men

Image: Obama's My Brother's Keeper Program Aims to Help Young Black Men

Friday, 28 Feb 2014 03:40 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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President Barack Obama announced Thursday a new private-public initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” aimed at helping young men of color become successful and overcome odds that are often stacked against them.

Speaking to 19 black and Hispanic young men, Obama announced the program and talked about the challenges he faced in his childhood.

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“My Brother’s Keeper” will encourage investment in helping boys of color during important points in their development, with corporations and foundations investing dollars in research and looking at programs that work nationwide.

Obama also signed a presidential memorandum to create the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, which will determine how to “improve the odds for boys and young men of color, and make sure our agencies are working more effectively with each other, with those businesses, with those philanthropies, and with local communities to implement proven solutions,” The Washington Post said.

In a White House fact sheet on the initiative, it was specified that My Brother’s Keeper will “help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead,” and will look for “proven tools that expand opportunity at key moments in the lives of these young people.”

“No excuses," Obama said, according to CNN. "Government, and private sector, and philanthropy, and all the faith communities, we all have a responsibility to help provide you the tools you need. We've got to help you knock down some of the barriers that you experience."

Obama shared his own life stories with the young men gathered for the initiative’s introduction, bluntly talking about his youth.

“I didn't have a dad in the house, and I was angry about it, even though I didn't necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices,” he said. “I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn't always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.”

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