(NNPA)—President Barack Obama announced a “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative to help young Black and Brown men succeed. Many present in the East Wing of the White House described the announcement of this initiative as “an emotional moment” for President Obama and for many of the others gathered there.
Several of the African-American men who were present at the announcement took to the airwaves afterwards, talking about how it felt to be in a room where the nation’s first Black president talked about his own background and his identification with troubled young Black men. The parents of slain teens Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were in the room, reinforcing a statement the president made a year or so ago when he said that if he had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon Martin.
While President Obama says he will ask government agencies to work together to create more possibilities for young Black men. He emphasized that the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative is not a new government program. Indeed, early funding will come from private foundations. Few specifics of the program have been released, but preliminary activity will include a review of existing programs to determine what works and what doesn’t. Still, the president has used the power of his pen, the phone and his pulpit to raise awareness about the many economic challenges African-American men face.