Joint Center Statement Regarding The White House “My Brother’s Keeper” Task Force Report

WASHINGTON, Friday, May 30, 2014–Today President Obama announced the initial report of the “My Brother’s Keeper” Task Force, which aims to build public- and private-sector partnerships to improve life opportunities for boys and men of color.  This represents a vitally important opportunity to mobilize stakeholders and to take action to embrace our young men.

The Joint Center applauds the initial Report of the Task Force, The White House, and all of the philanthropic, corporate, and community-based partners that will be engaged in My Brother’s Keeper.  The Joint Center looks forward to working with all stakeholders to expand opportunity for boys and young men of color.

In 2005, the Joint Center launched the Dellums Commission, chaired by former U.S. House of Representatives Member Ronald V. Dellums, to analyze obstacles commonly confronted by young men of color and to identify effective policies and practices that could help them enjoy a more successful path in life.  The result was nine reports that contained a powerful series of recommendations, many of which have been implemented in various communities such as Oakland, California and Chicago, Illinois.  The Joint Center is currently reconvening the Dellums Commission, which will work with the various public and private stakeholders that have convened as a result of My Brother’s Keeper.


Spencer Overton, Interim President and CEO, Joint Center: “Data show that the challenges faced by young males of color warrant special attention.   Rather than ignore disparities or relegate them to ideological soundbites, the initial My Brother’s Keeper Report focuses on data and evidence-based policy solutions that work.  The Report provides coherence to complex issues by giving us tangible places to start.  Perhaps most important, the Report uses the platform of the White House to highlight the fact that we all have an interest in helping to solve the challenges that confront young males of color.  The Report provides leadership that helps ensure sustained attention to the challenges that confront young males of color.  I look forward to the Task Force’s next steps.”

Brian Smedley, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of the Joint Center Health Policy Institute: “Building on the success of the Dellums Commission, My Brother’s Keeper has the potential to unite labor, industry, science, public health, religious leaders, philanthropists, foundations, and elected officials in a consortium to improve life opportunities for boys and men of color.  Relative to their white peers, boys and men of color face deeply inequitable life circumstances and outcomes, as measured by disparities across a range of sectors, such as education, employment, health and reproductive health, and juvenile and criminal justice involvement.  A host of historic and contemporary factors contribute to inequitable opportunities for boys and men of color.  For example, persistent residential segregation—an enduring legacy of de jure and de facto Jim Crow policies and practices that are reinforced by current housing discrimination and housing policies—concentrates these young men in high-poverty communities, where there are few jobs and few role models that present boys with reasons for optimism about their lives.“

Jermane Bond, PhD., Joint Center Research Scientist and Director of the Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes:   “It is widely known that a range of social, physical, biological, and economic forces shape life opportunities for boys and men of color. We applaud this initiative and support efforts to remove barriers to success and promote equitable opportunity for boys and men of color.  We also look forward to working with the Obama Administration to develop evidence-based strategies to address the needs of boys and men of color.”

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Founded in 1970, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a leading think tank on people of color and public policy.  The Joint Center uses research, analysis, and communications to improve the socioeconomic status and political participation of people of color, to promote relationships across racial lines, and to strengthen the nation’s pluralistic society.  Follow us @JointCenter