President Barack Obama on Thursday launched a new initiative to provide greater opportunities for young Black and Hispanic men, a headfirst dive into racial economic disparities for a President who has often avoided the issue.
Through what’s being called the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the White House is partnering with businesses, nonprofits and foundations to address disparities in education, criminal justice and employment. “By almost every measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century, in this country, are boys and young men of color,” said the President.
Groups have invested $150 million in the program, according to the White House, and have pledged to invest another $200 million over the next five years. Obama signed an order on Thursday to establish the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, which will determine best practices both inside and outside government to address the challenges faced by young minority men.
“Fifty years after Dr. [Martin Luther] King talked about his dream for America’s children, the stubborn fact is that the life chances for the average Black or brown child in this country lags behind by almost every measure and is worse for boys and young men,” said the President.
Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will continue to work on the initiative even after they leave the White House, officials said.