President Obama recently unveiled a $200 million initiative with the goal of encouraging young Latino and black men to stay in school and reach their potential for a better future.

 

The initiative is a collaboration between private businesses, nonprofits and local governments.

 

“I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential,” President Obama said.

 

Data shows that by the time they hit fourth grade, 86 percent of African American boys and 82 percent Hispanic boys are reading below proficiency levels — compared to 54 percent of white fourth graders reading below proficiency levels. Also, African American and Hispanic young men are more than six times as likely to be victims of murder than their white peers — and account for almost half of the country’s murder victims each year.

 

The initiative was spurred on by the shooting death of Trayvon Martin two years ago. The President signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, an interagency committee chaired by Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson.

 

According to the White House it has been tasked with the following:

 

-Assess the impact of Federal policies, regulations, and programs of general applicability on boys and young men of color, so as to develop proposals that will enhance positive outcomes and eliminate or reduce negative ones.

-Recommend, where appropriate, incentives for the broad adoption by national, State, and local public and private decision makers of effective and innovative strategies and practices for providing opportunities to and improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.

-Create an Administration-wide “What Works” online portal to disseminate successful programs and practices that improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.

-Develop a comprehensive public website, to be maintained by the Department of Education, that will assess, on an ongoing basis, critical indicators of life outcomes for boys and young men of color in absolute and relative terms.

-Work with external stakeholders to highlight the opportunities, challenges, and efforts affecting boys and young men of color.

-Recommend to the President means of ensuring sustained efforts within the Federal Government and continued partnership with the private sector and philanthropic community as set forth in the Presidential Memorandum.