Doctors, lawyers, security guards and professors are among more than 200 African-American men who signed an open letter to President Barack Obama urging him to include women and girls in his far-reaching My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
The letter at African American Policy Forum comes on the heels of an announcement Friday by the president that former NBA all-star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson would help recruit more private-sector partners to become involved in his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Obama announced the initiative in February, saying it is aimed at empowering and improving the lives of young men of color.
But the men write that the initiative is shortshorted in its exclusion of women and girls.
“We write as African-American men who have supported your presidency, stood behind you when the inevitable racist challenges to your authority have emerged, and have understood that our hopes would be tempered by the political realities that you would encounter,” the letter states. “While we continue to support your presidency, we write both out of a sense of mutual respect and personal responsibility to address what we believe to be the unfortunate missteps in the My Brothers Keeper initiative (MBK). In short, in lifting up only the challenges that face males of color, MBK — in the absence of any comparable initiative for females — forces us to ask where the complex lives of black women and black girls fit into the White House’s vision of racial justice?”