COMMENTARY: Prominent Black Women Show Support For ‘My Brother’s Keeper’

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  • A coalition of prominent black women is supporting the White House initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” President Barack Obama’s ambitious effort to uplift and empower black boys and young men of color. The letter of steadfast support comes as some community activists have criticized the White House for not including Black girls in the initiative designed for Black and Latino boys.

    “We are writing to you to applaud several initiatives implemented by your Administration to improve the lives of low income and at-risk Americans,” according to the letter written to Obama and signed by 36 influential African-American women that include Melanie Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, Rev. Bernice King, CEO, The King Center, Atlanta, GA, Ingrid Saunders Jones, Chair, The National Council of Negro Women; Janice Mathis, Executive Director, RainbowPUSH Coalition; and Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute.

    “We believe that a successful “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative can result in stronger families, stronger fathers, stronger employees, stronger leaders; and ultimately, a stronger America,” the letter said. “Therefore, Mr. President, we pledge our commitment to support this ground-breaking and historic initiative, which addresses the challenges facing the everyday lives of our at-risk children and youth.”

    Last month, the Obama administration released a 60-page report outlining a series of critical statistics, personal accounts and guidelines and recommendations for moving “My Brother’s Keeper” forward. As part of its 90-day report, the Task Force identified a set of initial recommendations to the President, and a blueprint for action by government, business, non-profit, philanthropic, faith and community partners. For example, about 25% of Blacks, 27% of American Indian and Alaska natives, and 23% of Hispanics live in poverty compared to just 11.6 percent of Whites.

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