President Barack Obama launched Monday My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a non-for-profit organization that will focus on providing young Black and Hispanic males with education and other opportunities. The President hopes that the initiative would erase the sense of “unfairness and of powerlessness” that pushed minorities into Baltimore and Ferguson violent protests.
The initiative was unveiled at the Lehman College in the Bronx as a sequel of another program Obama launched early last year to help minorities have a head start in life. This year’s program resulted in $500 million being raised form grants and pledges for commitment from 200 local communities.
Both programs seek to support young Black and Latino males and help them escape poverty and the vicious cycle that usually pushes them to commit various crimes. Obama administration disclosed that 25 percent of Black and Latino males aged 16-24 currently lack any employment or education opportunities.
Obama managed to persuade high-profile corporations such as Pepsico and American Express to join in the cause. For the first round, the program raised more than $80 million. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will be directed by Joe Echevarria, a former Deloitte chief executive who was born and raised in Bronx.
This Monday’s initiative comes days after the President decried the poverty and lack of opportunities for young men of color who often express their anger and discontent through violent reactions.
Obama pledged that the initiative would last longer than his tenure and made a public commitment that he and the First Lady would continue this mission for the rest of their lives.
The President also said that not young members of the minorities were the problem. The problem relies with the lack of initiative of local communities and private sector.
But other Presidents had also had their public initiatives in an effort to solve some public crises. For instance, Carter launched Habitat for Humanity, a non-for-profit organization designed to provide poor people around the world with a place to live. Bill Clinton launched Clinton Global Initiative, an organization dedicated to solve a series of pressing issues such as climate change or worldwide obesity.
Supporters of President Obama’s initiative claim that he might be even more successful than his predecessors in hi chosen cause. They believe he is the most suited person to try to tackle poverty and racism because he has a very “special position” and many people trust him.
Moreover, Obama’s staff members expressed their hopes that the new plan would be more effective than just passing another bill in an attempt to solve these problems.
Shortly after he was nominated President, Obama proposed a fatherhood program for minorities and a program to support healthy families. But the problems young men of color currently face are older than Obama’s tenure and will certainly last long after he left office.
Yet, Obama felt a sense of urgency in dealing with these issues in 2012 after Trayvon Martin was killed. The President publicly expressed his concerns on lack of opportunities for minorities on various occasion since that moment. He also criticized society for ignoring minority groups and their problems as long as there was no crisis involved.
Image Source: White House