My Brothers Keeper Initiative barack obama

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The White House is moving forward with its plans to better the lives of young men of color via its My Brother’s Keeper initative.

Kicking off the second phase of the proposal, President Obama recently announced that more than 138 mayors, county officials and tribal nations from across the country have signed on to participate in the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge,”  a formal, city-by-city commitment to discuss, plan and implement programs designed to meet goals outlined by the administration.

“[What the challenge is] is a way to get local communities involved in the implementation of the work of My Brother’s Keeper by having them first agree to address the issues the president says are critical to [the lives of young Black boys and men],” explains Broderick Johnson, cabinet secretary for the White House and the chair of the My Brothers’ Keeper Taskforce. “After that it’s to put together a summit of local businesses, foundations, faith leaders and community groups within 45 days in order to formulate a plan. Then it’s to move on that plan and meet the MBK challenges.”

Specifically, the White House seeks to ensure the following:



•    All children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally prepared;

•    All children read at grade level by third grade;

•    All young people graduate from high school;

•    All young people complete post-secondary education or training;

•    All youth out of school are employed; and

•    All young people are safe from violent crime.

It seems the cities are eager to get started.

“Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter was one of the first to sign up, and he’s been helping to get other mayors on board,” says Johnson of the administration’s cradle-to-college framework. Beyond him, mayors of nearly all the big cities — New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and others, including Republicans like Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard — have all pledged their support and vowed to do their part.

“They’ve been working on these issues in their cities for quite some time,” he says of the mayors’ eagerness to find antidotes to related issues of crime, poverty, high school dropout rates and other socioeconomic conditions. “MBK gives them the power of the presidency and the convening power of the president to bring folks together to get things done. “

And there’s more.

In addition to the challenge, the federal government recently allocated millions of dollars to help meet their collective goals, to include “a $4.75 million initiative backed by the Department of Justice to invest in training, evidence-based strategies, policy development and research to build trust and strengthen the relationship between young men of color and law enforcement.” Also more than $57 million in grants provided by The Department of Education aimed at improving the safety and climate of America’s schools, among other improvements.

 



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