Valerie Jarrett (@VJ44) & Broderick Johnson on My Brother’s Keeper: A New White House Initiative to Empower Boys and Young Men of Color
Today, from the East Room of the White House, President Obama will launch a new effort aimed at empowering boys and young men of color, a segment of our society which too often faces disproportionate challenges and obstacles to success. These obstacles are found in our schools, our communities, our criminal justice system, our families, and even in the minds of our young people themselves. The President is committed to build a broad coalition of backers to help break down barriers, clear pathways to opportunity, and reverse troubling trends which show too many of our boys and young men of color slipping through the cracks in our society.
A student eyes the Emancipation Proclamation as the President gave students from William R. Harper High School in Chicago a tour of the Oval Office, June 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
“There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”
– President Obama, July 19, 2013
President Barack Obama enters the East Room of the White House with Christian Campagne at the start of the “My Brother’s Keeper,” event, Feb. 27, 2014. “My Brother’s Keeper” is an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In the fall of 1870, a handful of students made their way through the northwest quadrant of the nation’s capital, and through the doors of D.C.’s “Preparatory High School for Colored Youth,” the country’s first public high school for African American children. There, in the shadow of the American Civil War, and dawned with the spark of reconstruction, a converted basement-turned-classroom in the lower floor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church bore the seeds of Dunbar High School, which would become one of the country’s preeminent institutions for African American educational achievement.
"It’s time for us as a society, we have to stop leaving it to our elders to want change, we have to want it for ourselves," The Montgomery Advertiser quoted Epps as saying. "We have to stop putting down our books and picking up guns. We are losing a lot of young people, very young. And I think that it’s time that we just stop the violence now."
— Nelson Mandela
— Martin Luther King, Jr.