(AllHipHop News) In his first memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama discussed growing up without his dad, using drugs, and facing challenges in society because of his race. The president connected those life stories to today’s young people when he announced the new My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
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“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,” stated Obama. “I made bad choices. 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.”
My Brother’s Keeper is designed to provide young men of color with basic health, nutrition, and high-quality early education. Government agencies will also work with local communities to reduce violence by making classrooms and streets safer.
Obama was surrounded by young males of different ethnicities and the parents of slain teenager Trayvon Martin at the White House yesterday as he signed the Presidential Memorandum establishing the new initiative.
“In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin verdict, with all of the emotions and controversy that it sparked, I spoke about the need to bolster and reinforce our young men and give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them,” said Obama.
Numerous foundations, including The California Endowment, The Ford Foundation, and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, have already announced $150 million in spending for the initiative with another $200 million to be invested over the next 5 years.
A new presidential task force has also been established. The My Brother’s Keeper Task Force will be chaired by Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson. The goals of the task force include:
- 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.
Obama added, “We need to give every child, no matter what they look like, where they live, a chance to reach their full potential, because if we do, if we help these wonderful young men become better husbands and fathers and well-educated hard-working good citizens; then, not only will they contribute to the growth and prosperity of this country, but they will pass the lessons on to their children, on to their grandchildren. We’ll start a different cycle. And this country will be richer and stronger for it for generations to come.”
Watch President Barack Obama speak about the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative below.