Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


White House official to brief local officials and the public on Obama’s ‘Brother’s Keeper’ plan

The deputy assistant to the president for the Office of Urban Affairs will be in town Tuesday to talk about Obama’s plan to “improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.”

President Barack Obama’s strategy to help improve the lives of boys and young men of color — which he calls “My Brother’s Keeper” — will be outlined Tuesday in Minneapolis by a White House official.

Roy Austin, the deputy assistant to the president for the urban affairs, justice and opportunity, will give a briefing on the plan to the public and hear from local officials, including Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.

The briefing Tuesday is at 11 a.m. at the Cowles Auditorium at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Av. S., Minneapolis.

Also scheduled to attend are:

  • Minnesota Council on Foundations President Trista Harris
  • Youth participants from local AVID and Healthy Start programs

The White House said last month that action is needed because:

Article continues after advertisement

“… for decades opportunity has lagged behind for some, including millions of boys and young men of color. Boys of color are too often born into poverty and live with a single parent. And while their gains contributed to the national high school graduation rate reaching an all-time high, in some school districts dropout rates remain high. Too many of these boys and young men will have negative interactions with the juvenile and criminal justice system, and the dream of a college education is within grasp for too few. Our society can and will do more to help remove barriers to all young people’s success, because America prospers not only when hard work and responsibility are rewarded but also when we all pull forward together.”

The program calls for mentors from all walks of life to help young people, and offers a sign-up option.

They say the mentorship program is crucial because:

“It is important that all children have caring adults who are engaged in their lives.  But too many young people lack this support. For example, roughly two-thirds of Black and one-third of Hispanic children live with only one parent. Moreover, research suggests that a father’s absence increases the risk of his child dropping out of school among Blacks and Hispanics by 75 percent and 96 percent respectively.  We see significant high school dropout rates — as high as 50 percent in some school districts — including among boys and young men from certain Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander populations. And some 27 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in poverty, compared to 11.6% of White Americans.”