‘Moonlight’ Partners With Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Mentoring Initiative 

“Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins (photo via Variety.com)

article by  via Variety.com

In celebration of Black History Month, Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-nominated film “Moonlight” is partnering with My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a mentoring program initiated by President Barack Obama’s Administration. The organization focuses on empowering young men of color with the resources and support they need in order to achieve their full potential, regardless of circumstance.

The series kicked off Monday night with a screening in Los Angeles, attended by dozens of young men from local schools. Following the screening, Mike Muse of My Brother’s Keeper moderated a talk-back session with the students and the film’s Oscar-nominated talent: Jenkins, stars Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney. Another screening is set for New York next week.

To read more, go to: ‘Moonlight’ Partners With Barack Obama’s Mentoring Initiative | Variety

New York 1st State to Enact Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Program

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, speaks during a news conference on Feb. 2, 2016.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, speaks during a news conference on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo: MIKE GROLL/AP)

article by Kenneth Lovett via nydailynews.com

New York has become the first state to enact a program touted by President Obama to help at-risk black and Hispanic boys and young men, state officials said.

Known as “My Brother’s Keeper,” the program is designed to keep young males of color out of prison by focusing on family and community engagement, professional development and new school practices aimed at improving outcomes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature included $20 million in the state budget enacted last week to create a state version of the program.  “I was born and raised in the Bronx and I have seen firsthand the challenges that so many boys and young men of color face every day,” Carl Heastie, New York’s first black Assembly speaker, told the Daily News.

Heastie said studies show that black and Hispanic males are more likely to drop out of high school and “become trapped in the revolving door of the criminal justice system.”

“We need to change the conversation around the achievement rates of African-American and Latino men so that successful futures become the rule and not the exception,” he said.  “With this funding we are taking some meaningful steps toward a more holistic and comprehensive approach to improving the prospects of all our children, especially those who need our support the most.”

Obama, who has talked about his first job scooping ice cream, created a My Brother’s Keeper task force in 2014, with the idea of targeting minority boys so they can read at grade level by third grade, complete college education or training, and enter the workforce more prepared. It also seeks to reduce violence.

To read more, go to: http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-enact-obama-brother-keeper-program-article-1.2587149?cid=bitly

U.S. Reps Bonnie Watson Coleman, Robin Kelly and Yvette D. Clarke Form Congressional Caucus on Black Women And Girls

U.S. Representatives (l-r) Bonnie Watson Coleman, Robin Kelly, and Yvette D. Clarke

U.S. Representatives (l-r) Bonnie Watson Coleman, Robin Kelly, and Yvette D. Clarke

article by Lilly Workneh via huffingtonpost.com

Three black women in congress made history on Tuesday when they announced the formation of the first and only Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.

U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) confirmed the news in a press release issued by the U.S. House of Representatives. The release described the caucus as a group devoted to creating public policy that “eliminates significant barriers and disparities experienced by black women.”

The formation of the caucus marks a hugely significant moment for minority communities as it is the first of 430 registered congressional caucuses and member organizations that is specifically designed to make black women and girls a priority.

“Black women and girls are disproportionately affected by myriad [of] socioeconomic issues that diminish their quality of life and threaten the well-being of their families and communities,” Rep. Kelly said in a release obtained by The Huffington Post.

“The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls gives black women a seat at the table for the crucial discussion on the policies that impact them while also providing a framework for creating opportunities and eliminating barriers to success for black women,” she added.

The caucus was inspired by Ifeoma Ike, the co-founder of Black and Brown People Vote, and a collective of six other women involved in the #SheWoke committee which is comprised of leading black women activists who consistently advocate for black women’s rights, including Ike, Nakisha M. Lewis, Tiffany D. Hightower, Shambulia Gadsden Sams, Sharisse Stancil-Ashford, Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever and Sharon Cooper.

Lewis shared the news on Twitter Tuesday:

We officially have a Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls! Let’s get this work done #SheWoke https://t.co/3rbcV3ziAB

— Nakisha M. Lewis (@NakLew) March 22, 2016

Collectively, these women along with members of congress helped to launch a caucus that will aim to address issues important among black women, like economic equity, education, wellness and safety, among others.

“We want to get everyone, including our sisters, aware of where we statistically fall within these issues. Knowledge is definitely power,” Ike told The Huffington Post. “We’re looking at this space as one of idea-sharing and policy creation. We’re making sure we’re included as a demographic that deserves to be addressed.”

The caucus said in the press release it aims to achieve similar success in the lives of black women and girls that President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative has done for black men and boys. Ike, who worked to help form Obama’s well-respected campaign, expects to apply her expertise and share her experiences as she helps to execute the mission of the new caucus.

“I felt like I was supporting my brother but I didn’t feel like my story or any of my sister’s stories were included,” Ike said of her experience working for the My Brother’s Keeper campaign to The Huffington Post. “Through this work, and meeting other dynamic women, it’s very important, especially in this political climate, that politicians look at our issues. By addressing black women, you address everyone.”

“Black women deserve a voice in a policy making process that frequently minimizes, or altogether ignores the systemic challenges they face.”Rep. Watson Coleman

Ike said the idea for both the caucus and the #SheWoke committee came about during a conversation in her apartment earlier this year, which, among other topics, touched on recent developments in the case of Sandra Bland. Two days later, the #SheWoke committee was formed as was a petition which called on congress members to create a space that puts black women’s issues at the forefront.

“Black women deserve a voice in a policy making process that frequently minimizes, or altogether ignores the systemic challenges they face,” Rep. Watson Coleman said in the release. “This caucus will speak up for them.”

The launch reception of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls will be held on April 28 in Washington, D.C.

To read full article, go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/official-congressional-caucus-on-black-women-and-girls_us_56f18294e4b09bf44a9eae8c

President Barack Obama Declares October 11 “International Day Of The Girl”

Malia Obama President Barack OBama

President Barack Obama is calling on people all over the world to do everything they can to protect, nurture and encourage young women to be their best.

With the launch of My Brothers’ Keeper, many in the Black community questioned whether he’d forgotten about the struggles that young women face. President Obama insisted last month that his administration was not ignoring girls, and he reminded the nation that he’s taking several steps to ensure that girls have a fair shot in this world.

To drive that point home, the president declared October 11 the International Day of the Girl. “On International Day of the Girl, we stand with girls, women, and male and female advocates in every country who are calling for freedom and justice,” he said in an official statement from the White House, “and we renew our commitment to build a world where all girls feel safe, supported, and encouraged to pursue their own measure of happiness.”

President Obama, who has two amazing daughters of his own, also hopes that this day will be used to call attention to the various injustices, crimes, and acts of violence that young women face all over of the world–and then do something about it. That includes the “harmful cultural norms and prejudices that tell young women how they are expected to look and act deny the dignity and equality” that they deserve as human beings.

MUST READ: President Barack Obama Insists His Administration Has Not Forgotten Black Girls

“Today, we resolve to do more than simply shine a light on inequality,” said Barack. “With partners across the globe, we support the girls who reach for their future in the face of unimaginable obstacles, and we continue our work to change attitudes and shift beliefs until every girl has the opportunities she deserves to shape her own destiny and fulfill her boundless promise.”

And he noted that the plight women face abroad is just as important as the problems they have to deal with in U.S. “As we work to transform the lives of girls and women abroad, we have also redoubled our efforts to ensure there are no barriers to their success here at home,” said President Obama. “We must see the hopes and dreams of our own girls and realize that these are the same dreams of girls around the world.”

By allowing young women to suffer violence and inequitable cultural norms, the president mused that many of the world’s brightest minds are being blocked from reaching their full potential. That’s a disservice to the world that he cannot abide.

“We cannot afford to silence the girl who holds the key to changing her community, or the voice that speaks up to call for peace or further scientific discovery,” said the president. “We cannot allow violence to snuff out the aspirations of young women in America, and we must not accept it anywhere in the world.”

As he made his official declaration, he said in conclusion, “I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that advance equality and opportunity for girls everywhere.”

article by Sonya Eskridge via hellobeautiful.com

Obama Administration Lays Out Ways Groups Can Support Program for Minority Men

President Obama met with My Brother’s Keeper task force members at the White House on Friday. (Photo Credit: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times)

The Obama administration announced recommendations on Friday on how public and private entities can participate in a White House initiative meant to support minority men and boys, including a move to focus on summer jobs and recruit adults who can serve as mentors.

“Already we’re seeing, I think, a much greater sense of urgency this summer about putting these young people in opportunities where they can learn the basic skills that they’re going to need to get attached to the labor market,” President Barack Obama said Friday. The former basketball star Magic Johnson and Joe Echevarria, who heads the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, will help lead the program.

“We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent, and more talent, than I had, but nobody is investing in them,” Mr. Obama said, adding that over the next couple of weeks, more specific programs would be announced.

The recommendations come three months after Mr. Obama announced the five-year initiative, called My Brother’s Keeper. Standing in front of a group of young minority men and executives from businesses and nonprofit organizations in February, the president recalled his own experiences as a black man growing up without a father at home and sometimes making “bad choices.”

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Young Men Debunk Negative Racial Stereotypes In “Suit and Tie” Video

A group of young Black and Latino men are letting the world know that they are far from the image of violent, uneducated and unkempt individuals that the media often makes them out to be.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 11.22.47 AMDressed in suits, button-down shirts and bow ties while serving plenty of bravado, 34 juniors and seniors from Illinois’ Central High School recently created a short video called “Suit & Tie In The 217″ to combat the negative stereotypes they face regularly — and we love every second of it!

Set to the Justin Timberlake/Jay Z collaboration “Suit & Tie,” the teens show off their superb style while the messages “we are not gangsters and thugs,” “we are employees and volunteers,” “we are scholars” and “we are athletes” appear across the screen. To be specific, they are Honor Roll students, poets, future collegiate athletes and National Honor Society members, just to name a few of their talents and accomplishments.

“The negative stories told daily in the media and in our culture about our young African-American men tend to ignore their successes and don’t tell the full story about how young Black men are becoming leaders within our community schools,” Tiffany Gholson, a Central High School counselor that helped with the project, told NewsOne.

Between Obama’s new initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, this awesome viral video and countless other groups and individuals attempting to reclaim the narrative of young black men — we’re hopeful the mission will be accomplished.

Check out the amazing video above and let us know what you think about it in the comments section.

article by Julee Wilson via huffingtonpost.com

President Obama Launches New Program “My Brother’s Keeper” to Help Young Black and Latino Men

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

At an event that felt like a black church service at times, President Barack Obama spoke in deeply personal terms yesterday about growing up without a father and urged the entire country to get behind his newly-launched “My Brother’s Keeper” program to help young black and Latino men.  “I didn’t have a dad in the house and I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time,” the president said of his childhood, with 20 black and Latino boys standing behind him in the White House’s East Room.

He added,”I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.”  But Obama said he was able to be successful because he had a mother, grandparents and teachers who would “push me to work hard and study hard and make the most of myself.”

As the president delivered a speech that alternated between talking about public policy and simply giving advice to both the minority boys behind him and those he hoped would watch the speech on television, a predominantly black audience of several hundred that included luminaries like Magic Johnson and Colin Powell several times shouted “amen” and “yes sir.”

“Yes, we need to train our workers, invest in our schools, make college more affordable — and government has a role to play.  And, yes, we need to encourage fathers to stick around, and remove the barriers to marriage, and talk openly about things like responsibility and faith and community.  In the words of Dr. King, it is not either-or; it is both-and,” Obama said.

The event was the formal launch of “My Brother’s Keeper,” which aims to pool resources of the federal government and also raise money and create new initiatives through businesses and foundations to target black and Latino males. Studies show men of color are less likely to graduate from high school, attend college or get jobs than white men or their female peers.

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