As Holder Hails “My Brother’s Keeper, ” It’s Time To Have Real Conversations


Work of SCA Alum Amarece Davis an Inspiration

Almost a year ago, President Obama announced that his administration would embark on an ambitious initiative he called “My Brother’s Keeper.” The intention was to get communities involved in the lives of young men, particularly those of color, to ensure their positive guidance from “cradle to college.” It was intended to foster support networks where none existed, direct them toward places where they could gain employable skill sets, and provide second chances.

Attorney General Eric Holder gave remarks recently in Washington regarding the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. He said that he’d been traveling the country speaking to people about what boys needs are and how the program can help. Said Holder:

I have spoken with police officers, elected officials, and young people; with faith leaders, civil rights advocates, concerned citizens, and many others.  I’ve often been moved by the stories they’ve shared.  And I’ve been struck not only by the commonalities that have emerged – in terms of shared values, and the common desire for safer neighborhoods and reduced violence directed at law enforcement – but also by a consistent drumbeat of concern about the future.

Of course, the topic of interaction with law enforcement came up, given the high-profile incidents that dominated the news over the past several months.

But there are other issues that are worth addressing at the initiative moves forward. Here’s five that we may not have been paying attention to over the past few years that affect minority youth in our communities, but that we’d all like to see directives on from programs like My Brother’s Keeper, because the program is an excellent venue to have these conversations.

5. Environment. It’s not just global warming. Another piece I wrote about a few months ago was about AmaRece Davis, an 18-year-old that got involved with the Student Conservation Association in Pittsburgh. He wound up doing work in Sequoia National Park in California and working to make his hometown’s urban environment better for the people who live there. One of the things I learned from him was that it really can make a difference when youth get a chance to transform their environment from weeds to greenery. But it will take getting blacks involved in conservation projects in their neighborhoods and that means putting young black men to work actually cleaning up the world around them.


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Student Conservation Association