COMMENTARY: Eric Holder Says My Brother’s Keeper May Be Obama’s Greatest Legacy

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Since the launch of “My Brother’s Keeper,” the President’s Task Force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans, through online and in-person listening sessions. Cities and towns, businesses, foundations, faith leaders and individuals have made commitments to helping youth get a strong start in school and life and later connect them to mentoring, support networks and specialized skills they need to find a good job or go to college.

“’My Brother’s Keeper’ from my perspective is a window into who this president is,” Holder told me. “If you want to get a sense of who Barack Obama is, look at the way in which he has come up with, supported, and stayed at, My Brother’s Keeper.
It’s a reflection of how he grew up, the deficits that he saw in his upbringing and his determination to lessen the possibilities of other kids of color and young men of color will have to deal with the same issues that he dealt with and decreasing the obstacles that they will have to face.”

In a high-level show of support for justice in the Brown case, while also acknowledging the anger many Black folks are experiencing following Brown’s violent death, Obama sent Holder to Ferguson to meet with law enforcement officials and the Brown family. Even before Michael Brown was killed, Holder maintained that young Black males will be better served through “My Brother’s Keeper” once the initiative takes hold.

“A whole generation will be positively impacted,” Holder told me. “You will have more young men capable of the kinds of things you want them to do, whether it’s serving in the armed forces, to be police officers, to be teachers, lawyers, doctors. There will be greater numbers contributing in a positive way to our society which has economic benefits and decreases the negative things.”

“The leading killer of young Black men is homicide and these are the kinds of numbers that we can have an impact on through ‘”My Brother’s Keeper,”” he added. “This is one that the President feels. The more immediate concern is that there will be thousands of – and potentially millions – of young men of color whose lives will be enriched and better and our nation will be better as a result,” Holder said.

“You’ll see kids who will focus on and value their education more, they will be less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system; have greater educational opportunities; they will feel better about themselves and that’s something that cannot be discounted,” he added.

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