“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
Greetings my young men of Achievement,
Last week the President of the United States, Barack H. Obama, announced the launch of a new historic initiative known as “My Brothers Keeper.” It is an initiative that will be an all out effort to, as stated by the White House, to “empower young boys and men of color.” While inspirational and powerful it is what was stated next in the press release that is important for you to understand:
“...a segment of our society (young boys and men of color) 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.”
Within this passage we gather a clear picture of the trials and tribulations that so of our young men of color face. It is a life experience of a young Black male where data and statistics such as 14% reading proficiently, 42% suspended or expelled, 28% juvenile arrests or, tragically, 43% murder victims are not numbers but names we can attach to friends and family. Where numbers are transformed into screams from crying mothers holding a lifeless child. Sirens and flashing lights from police cars taking away those we know in handcuffs. Or friends we joked with, had lunch with, did homework with no longer occupying the desk right next to ours. These statistics I do not have to repeat to you, you know them. What is most important for you to understand though is not the statistics but the fact that those of you reading this have managed to succeed in avoiding being counted amongst them. It is for this reason that I speak ask each of you directly, right here and right now, are YOU willing to be Your Brothers Keeper?