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‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Community Forum Focuses on Opportunity Gap

Prince George’s County leaders gathered in Forest Heights to discuss implementing President Obama’s initiative to help young men of color.

Prince George’s County leaders gathered in Forest Heights to discuss implementing President Obama’s initiative to help young men of color. Credit: Town of Forest Heights
Prince George’s County leaders gathered in Forest Heights to discuss implementing President Obama’s initiative to help young men of color. Credit: Town of Forest Heights
Dozens of Prince George’s County leaders convened on Saturday in Forest Heights to discuss implementation of President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” program.

President Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper” in February as an initiative to help young men of color close the opportunity gaps.

“As a black student, you are far less likely than a white student to be able to read proficiently by the time you are in fourth grade,” President Obama said in his remarks about the initiative. “By the time you reach high school, you’re far more likely to have been suspended or expelled. There’s a higher chance you end up in the criminal justice system, and a far higher chance that you are the victim of a violent crime. Fewer young black and Latino men participate in the labor force compared to young white men. And all of this translates into higher unemployment rates and poverty rates as adults.”

“And the worst part is we’ve become numb to these statistics,” President Obama said. “We’re not surprised by them. We take them as the norm. We just assume this is an inevitable part of American life, instead of the outrage that it is. That’s how we think about it. It’s like a cultural backdrop for us -- in movies and television. We just assume, of course, it’s going to be like that. But these statistics should break our hearts. And they should compel us to act.”

Prince George’s County leaders and members of the community, including religious organizations, nonprofit, private, public, labor, education and health groups focused on four areas of improvement:

  • Reducing the negative impact that young men of color have on law enforcement
  • Physical and mental health
  • Education
  • Jobs, Unemployment, Skills training

“I am proud to stand with leaders who are ready to stop talking and begin taking action,” said Forest Heights Mayor Jacqueline Goodall in a statement. “Kito James, Reverend Clarence Crawford, Dr. James Dula, Joseph Wilson, Reverend Jacqueline Norris and Dr. Denise Davidson were among the many who were present and ready to move forward to begin to take action. The President’s Task Force on ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ has published a Blueprint for Action Plan and now is the time for the village to begin the hard work needed to change the trajectory of our young men of color. It may take years to see the results of some of our work, but this is not an impossible task.”

Prince George’s leaders pledged to establish a committee that would follow up on the discussed action plans and work toward creating an online portal for Prince George’s County of “My Brother’s Keeper.”
Barbara July 01, 2014 at 02:06 PM
I think one great way to help them would be to stop instilling in them that it's someone else's fault they can't read, rob, shoot, do drugs, etc.

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