Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

My Brothers Keeper's Having Positive Impact in Communities of Color

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

My Brothers Keeper's Having Positive Impact in Communities of Color

Article excerpt

Two and a half years ago, the president spoke to the nation after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. He talked about the angst and anger that many parents and families were feeling and about the challenges facing too many young people, boys and young men of color in particular. He observed: "There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement," and "There has to be more we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them."

Six months later, the president launched My Brother's Keeper in a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House. During his remarks, the president recognized the challenges that can disproportionately affect boys and young men of color - and the need to find ways to ensure that they and their peers have every opportunity to reach their full potential:

"After all, these boys are a growing segment of our population. They are our future workforce. When, generation after generation, they lag behind, our economy suffers. Our family structure suffers. Our civic life suffers. Cycles of hopelessness breed violence and mistrust. And our country is a little less than what we know it can be. So we need to change the statistics - not just for the sake of the young men and boys, but for the sake of America's future."

MBK is about obliterating the barriers our kids face. It's about building strong, lasting bridges to opportunity for boys and girls, young men and young women, no matter what their background or the circumstances into which they were born. It's about investing in what works, acting with a sense of urgency, basing strategies on data and evidence, and having the courage to call-out and tear down discrimination in every system and policy where it shows up. And, in two years we could not be more excited about the momentum, energy and enthusiasm that has been sparked all across the country.

Foundations, businesses and social enterprises have responded to the president's call to action, committing more than $500 million in grants and in-kind resources and $1 billion in financing through community banks, including investments in safe and effective schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms and school redesign.

There are now almost 250 communities that have accepted the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge - representing 49 states, Washington, D.C., and 19 Tribal nations. Mayors - both Republicans and Democrats - as well as tribal leaders and county executives are working with community leaders and youth development experts to design and implement rigorous action plans that are strengthening communities and transforming lives. …

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