Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published February 27, 2014 at 5:41 PM | Page modified February 27, 2014 at 9:39 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (17)
  • Print

Obama plan aims to improve odds for minority boys

Under the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, businesses, foundations and community groups would coordinate investments to come up with or support programs that help keep young people out of the criminal-justice system and improve their access to higher education.


The Associated Press

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
Too bad that the federal government ruined the black family (and many other families)... MORE
Why is this not being called what it is? A sexist, racist initiative. Our president... MORE
I agree with road less traveled. Being fatherless is the factor that puts our youth at... MORE

advertising

WASHINGTON — In strong, often personal terms, President Obama on Thursday called for vigorous efforts to reverse underachievement among young black and Hispanic males. He also cautioned young minority men not to repeat his own youthful mistakes in an unforgiving world.

The president kicked off his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative from the White House East Room, appearing on stage with teenagers involved in the Becoming a Man program for at-risk boys in his hometown of Chicago.

The aim is to “start a different cycle,” Obama said. “If we help these wonderful young men become better husbands and fathers and well-educated, hardworking, good citizens, then not only will they contribute to the growth and prosperity of this country, but they will pass those lessons on to their children, on to their grandchildren.”

The president said he, too, could have been a negative statistic, because of his own unfocused anger over having no father at home.

“I made bad choices. I got high, not always thinking about the harm it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short,” Obama said.

The large, mostly African-American and Hispanic crowd was dotted with dignitaries, among them black and Hispanic members of Congress, NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Also present were the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, two black Florida teenagers killed in separate shootings.

Addressing America’s young men of color directly, Obama told them to have “no excuses” and to “tune out the naysayers who say if the deck is stacked against you, you might as well just give up or settle into the stereotype.”

“Nothing will be given to you,” Obama said. “The world is tough out there. ... But I know you guys can succeed.”

Under Obama’s initiative, businesses, foundations and community groups would coordinate investments to come up with or support programs that help keep young people out of the criminal-justice system and improve their access to higher education. Several foundations pledged at least $200 million over five years to promote that goal.

Meanwhile, Obama signed a presidential memorandum creating a governmentwide task force to evaluate the effectiveness of various approaches, so that federal and local governments, community groups and businesses will have best practices to follow. An online “What Works” portal will provide public access to data about programs that improve outcomes for young minority men.



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Put your marker on The Seattle Times interactive map and share your fan story.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Bad email habits to break today


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►