When President Barack Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper” the reactions were mixed. There were those who took the initiative as a sign that Obama did, in fact, care about Black male youth. There were others, such as Princeton professor Imani Perry, who rightfully pointed out that philanthropy is not policy.
Wherever one landed on the issue, though, it was clear that it did nothing to address the hurdles and systemic inequality that Black women and girls face in the United States. And 200 Black men decided to do something about it by directly petitioning President Obama to expand the program.
“The men who came together to lift up this issue are organizers, professors, recently incarcerated, filmmakers, taxi drivers, college students, high school teachers, ministers, former pro-athletes, fathers of sons, and fathers of daughters,” said author and Vassar College professor Kiese Laymon, one of the organizers of the movement. “These men, identifying as straight, queer and transgender, all share a commitment to the expansion of My Brothers Keeper and all other national youth interventions to include an explicit focus on the structural conditions that negatively impact all youth of color.”