What we owe young black men

What we owe young black men

Around the world, America represents freedom and equality, a place where all people — regardless of their background — have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. But for many Americans, that ideal runs up against some harsh realities.

Fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, black, Latino and other young boys and men of color are less likely to finish high school than their peers, and more likely to be unemployed, in poverty, or in prison — or the victims of violent crime. This is a national crisis that has persisted for too long, and fixing it is a moral imperative that we must confront head-on.

Recently, President Obama took an important step toward doing that by announcing a new initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. It brings together a broad coalition of leaders from across America, including from the private and nonprofit sectors, who are committed to ensuring that boys and young men have the opportunity to succeed.

My Brother’s Keeper is not some new, big government program; it recognizes that all of us — parents, teachers, companies and religious and community leaders — have an active role to play. The initiative is built on common-sense solutions — from early childhood education to prison sentencing reforms — that all Americans, regardless of political party, should be able to rally around and support.

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