In Obama’s second term, he has become vocal about minority issues, a topic he has received flack for not addressing. Also, he has expanded his focus on the workforce, universal healthcare, and education.
Obama previously spoke out against longer jail sentences for Blacks and Latinos convicted of drug felonies and the unemployment rates affecting Black males. Pew Research Center reports that Black unemployment rates are consistently twice that of whites. This is thought to be a result of high incarceration rates, low graduation rates, and a lack of support systems to help Black men out of this low-income trap, says author Linda Harris.
White House officials said the My Brother’s Keeper initiative will target strategies with proven results that keep young Black men employed and in school instead of the criminal justice system.
My Brother’s Keeper aims to tackle some of the triggers in two parts. First, Obama “will reach out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.” Obama previously touched on this topic during his2014 State of the Union Address.
The second part will evaluate programs that work best to reach Black young males. The education and justice departments have revised disciplinary guidelines to make them more effective, White House officials noted. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been advocates for promoting higher education and convincing colleges to provide financial aid and support for minority and low-income Americans.
Obama said 2014 will be “a year in action!” You can tune in as he gives his remarks on My Brother’s Keeper at WhiteHouse.gov/live.