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Communications Tools for Expanding Opportunity for Men and Boys of Color

On February 27, President Barack Obama announced the launch of "My Brother's Keeper," a White House initiative designed to expand opportunity and success for young men and boys of color. A new inter-agency Task Force will examine public and private efforts that are working and how to expand on them, how the Federal Government's own policies and programs can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community in these efforts. The President also called for investments from major foundations and businesses to expand opportunity for boys and young men of color.

We welcome the President's leadership, and congratulate the groups around the country that helped to bring about this announcement. We are particularly pleased that the President has embraced many of The Opportunity Agenda's key policy and communications recommendations on this issue. But more is needed.

To make the most of this important announcement, The Opportunity Agenda recommends emphasizing the following themes:

  • Opportunity – Ensuring that young men of color have the opportunity to fulfill their full potential is critical to our nation's future and to our national values.
  • Commonsense Solutions – We have it in our power to expand opportunity. Tested, commonsense solutions are working in many parts of the country, and it's time to deploy what works across the nation. [Lift up specific examples of commonsense solutions that are working.]
  • We're All in This Together – Given the opportunity, these young men are our future doctors and teachers, inventors and entrepreneurs, parents and leaders. Our nation's economic prosperity and social fabric depend on the chance they have to succeed.

Here's a sample message, adapted from materials from the White House:

It's time to use proven tools to expand opportunity at key moments in the lives of young men of color. This includes ensuring access to basic health, nutrition, and to high-quality early education to get these kids reading and ready for school at the youngest age. But that's not enough. We need to partner with communities and police to reduce violence and make our classrooms and streets safer. And we need to help these young men stay in school and find a good job–so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to their communities and build decent lives for themselves and their families.

In addition, we're pleased to share these resources for building the national will to expand opportunity for Black men and boys, and everyone in our country:

Sign up for more: In the coming months, The Opportunity Agenda will be releasing new public opinion and media research, as well as messaging advice, on Black men and boys, on criminal justice reform, and on poverty. Sign up here to be the first to receive these resources.

Thank you for your leadership and commitment to opportunity for all in our nation. This is our moment.




Alan Jenkins
Executive Director