President Barack Obama, flanked by Attorney Holder Eric Holder, left, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, left, speaks about a report from “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color, Friday, May 30, 2014, during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
More than two dozen community and faith-based women leaders have signed a letter addressed to President Barack Obama in support of the administration’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative geared toward men and boys of color. The coalition, loosely naming itself the National Women Leadership Supporting My Brother’s Keeper, features prominent Black leadership across several organizations and churches nationwide and signed the letter as a collective.
President Obama’s bold initiative has been largely met with support for the marginalized group of boys and men who often are more subject to arrests and lack services aimed at their betterment. And while there has been some rumblings from opponents that the administration has not applied the same effort to girls and women, the Leadership’s letter over the weekend is a welcome shift of support for My Brother’s Keeper.
From the letter:
It is our understanding that after your February 27, 2014, call for support of the initiative, private philanthropies, businesses, governors, mayors, faith leaders, and nonprofit organizations, pledged to invest $200 million dollars over the next five years, in addition to the $150 million already invested. These earmarks are much needed in order to guarantee the success of the initiative.
What is even more exciting to us about the initiative is your charge to all Americans, especially communities of color, to participate and make it successful by volunteering as mentors. This personal request allows for organizations, businesses, and entities, already working to improve the lives of boys and young men of color, to partner; and, allows citizens, with long-term interest and support, and those unaware of these disparaging facts, to work together to improve the statistics within their communities.
Reverend Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner of the Skinner Leadership Institute, Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and Reverend Dr. Bernice A. King were among the 30 names that signed the letter, which included the signature of other church and community leaders.