1,000 women of color want women and girls included in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’

Nia-Malika Henderson – Washington Post – Friday, 27 June 2014 (originally published 18 Jun)

President Obama talks in the Roosevelt Room at the White House
President Obama talks about the “My Brother’s Keeper Task Force” in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on May 30. Image: Larry Downing/Reuters

More than 1,000 women of color have signed a letter calling for gender equality in President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” program, putting the White House on the defensive about its initiative aimed at improving the lives of at-risk boys and young men.

The letter, along with one signed by 200 black men last month arguing for the inclusion of women and girls in the program, is a public airing of what had been a private debate during the planning stages of the initiative. It is the first major criticism and scrutiny by some of Obama’s top supporters over a program that has also been heralded as a much needed effort to address the particular problems faced by young men and boys of color.

In an open letter, publicized by the African American Policy Forum and signed by writer Alice Walker, lawyers Anita Hill and Mary Frances Berry and actress Rosario Dawson, among other leading academics and activists, the coalition of women asks that Obama “re-align this important initiative to reflect the values of inclusion, equal opportunity and shared fate that have propelled our historic struggle for racial justice forward” . . .

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