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My Brother's Keeper enters a new phase

Freddie Allen | 5/14/2015, noon
While political pundits rush ahead to the 2016 presidential election, President Barack Obama is rallying private-sector, philanthropic and community leaders ...
President Barack Obama speaks about the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative in the East Room of the White House in 2014. In May 2015, President Obama helped business leaders and community stakeholders launch My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. (Photo: Freddie Allen/NNPA)

— A fact sheet released by the Alliance said that just one disconnected young man costs society nearly $1 million over his lifetime.

“High school graduates pay more taxes, draw less from social welfare programs and are less likely to commit crimes than drop-outs,” stated the brief. “Research shows that closing the achievement gap between young men of color and their peers could increase the annual GDP by as much as $2.1 trillion.”

Hughes said that launching the Alliance puts the onus on the community to become proactively engaged and by reaching out to corporate America as well as those in the philanthropic sector, separate and apart from the federal government, speaks to the Obama administration's effort to get all of us to buy in to the program.

“That's one of the most invaluable aspects of this particular alliance: that it is separate and apart from government and that it's not governed by political ideology. So, we consider that a strength,” said Hughes, adding that a partnership like the Alliance has the potential to open doors to more resources and more funding so, that groups like CBM National can expand the services that they provide and further support the goals and objectives of the Alliance.

“We're seeking solutions, not simple engagement,” said Hughes. “We understand the long-term implications of dealing with these kids. We have to make sure that our efforts can be quantified, so that we can apply lessons learned and help more children.”

Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, applauded President Obama for launching the MBK Alliance in an effort to ensure the sustainability of the MBK Initiative.

“My Brother's Keeper Alliance will serve as a helpful tool in placing more young men of color on a path to success. These young men will become our nation's leading entrepreneurs, scholars, lawmakers and law enforcement officials,” said Brooks. “Just as the GI Bill fueled the growth and development of thousands of young people a generation ago, today's young people deserve our investment today. “

Brooks continued: “As our nation begins to address the unrest wrought by racial profiling in cities like Ferguson, Cleveland and Baltimore, the NAACP looks forward to working collaboratively with My Brother's Keeper Alliance to ensure that all young men of color are maximizing their full educational and professional potential.”

Sammie Dow, the youth and college director of the NAACP echoed the praise that Brooks offered and said that the success of our country is contingent upon our collective ability to educate all of our children and position them for success.

“Too often, young men of color are forced to overcome impossible odds in the face of low expectations,” said Dow. “Our hope is that the newly announced Alliance will create an abundance of educational and professional opportunities for young men of color throughout the nation, and equip them with the training, resources and support they need to be high achievers."