Help the Sister’s Too!
Over the past few years, there have been increasing rates in the number of police brutality incidents against men and young boys of color. In February 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home from a convenient store. George Zimmerman, Martin’s murderer, was found not guilty after a long trial. This was the beginning of the unjustifiable acts performed by law enforcement against young males of color. Nothing in the justice system remained peaceful after they set a guilty man free. Since then, there have been numerous police brutality cases where an innocent black male was killed and the police men were found not guilty. Unjustified shootings, beating and harsh treatment by law enforcement has caused black communities to feel furious, afraid and concerned. These acts of violence have led black males to believe that they are more likely to be victims of police brutality over other races. The effects of police brutality have brought black communities together for movements such as Black Lives Matter. Influencer Barack Obama decided to initiate a movement as well named MBK which is short for My Brother’s Keeper. Although this movement is to help black communities with the problems they face, it is exclusively for young males, and men of color. It seems counterintuitive for our recent President, Barack Obama, to express gratitude towards one half of the young community but not the other. Our female influencer’s such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Gabrielle Union should send a helping hand out to the young black females in smaller communities who are having difficulties with their everyday lives.
Four years ago, the popular Black Lives Movement organization was founded. The organizations mission was and still is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state. The organizations ultimate goal is to have a world where black lives are no longer a target for police officers. Like every movement, the BLM wants to be heard. On the other side of the Black Lives Movement, there is a movement called All Lives Matter. The white activists in the All Lives Matter Movement believe that blacks shouldn’t highlight that only black lives matter. They point out that in fact, all lives matter. The problem is that the black community has been targeted from the beginning of time going back to slavery and now, being targeted by law enforcements that are supposed to help the community, but instead are tearing it down by killing innocent black males. The list goes on of how many other movements there are just like these, but the real question is, what movement is actually successful and making a change in not only how the justice system rules their cases but starting from the root. Obama does just that in his My Brother’s Keeper movement in helping young black males, and now someone needs to take on the role in helping the young black females who are also struggling.
Shortly after the death of innocent Trayvon Martin, Barack Obama began a movement called My Brother’s Keeper. The MBK movement is exclusively for young black males of color leaving out the other half, females. On February 27, 2014, President Obama quotes that My Brother’s Keeper is “all about helping our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works – when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.” Also given in his speech that day, Obama states that the group that is facing the most crucial challenges in the 21st century are boys and young men of color. Because the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin sparked so many emotions and controversy among communities, it caused Obama to feel the need to speak about how important it is for young black men to know that their country cares about them. But, in order for the movement to be successful, parents, teachers, and leaders need to be a part of helping these young men.
Prior to the death of Trayvon Martin, if there were consistent programs in every black community that provided support and guidance for young black males, Martin could still be with us today. Not only could Obama have come up with the initiative to help young males of color before the death of Martin, but other community leaders could have done the same as well. Author Sean Grover, wrote about the struggles that boys face who grown up without a male figure during their childhood. In Grover’s article he states that, “Once again, the quality of the relationships in a child’s life determines his or her mental well-being.” Young males who grow up without a male figure in their lives can suffer from anger issues and forms of depression. This statistics explains why there is so much gang violence is communities. Young black males need male figures in their lives from the moment they are born. Each community should have programs and organizations that have positive male role models that provide young males with the guidance they need for a better life.
Barack Obama and his team have come up with six milestones that the My Brother’s Keeper is focused on. It is important for children to have a healthy start when coming to school. They should be ready and eager to learn physically, socially, and emotionally. All children enrolled in school should be able to read to understand by the age of eight of by third grade. Of course, children should receive a quality education which leads to them graduating from high school and ready for a fresh start at college. The next step of course after applying and getting accepted into college is physically completing postsecondary education to enter into the career they worked hard to get into. Everyone that has a job should be able to provide the support they need for themselves and their families. Lastly, Obama’s program wants to focus on keeping the youth safe and away from violent crimes. Communities must come together as a whole and work together to keep these milestones their ultimate goals. If leaders Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Gabrielle Union enforce these milestones on young black females, the young black community can only be filed with greatness after these children have committed to and followed these six milestones. Working with young black females too, will allow the entire young black communities strive as a unit, and not just one half striving over the others. If we bring the entire community to perform one successful mission, it will ultimately improve our future.
Women such as Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Gabrielle Union would be the perfect candidates to take on the roles of aspiring young black females in small communities. Oprah Winfrey who has helped young black females in South Africa by creating a school called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. This academy strived to raise future leaders by helping girls with their confidence and leadership skills. Michelle Obama, our previous first lady, did an interview in 2016 with CNN stating that “For me, education has never been simply a policy issue — it’s personal.” Michelle Obama believes that every young girl should have the opportunity to get an education they need to fulfill their potential and support their families. Actress Gabrielle Union spoke about the issue of sex trafficking amongst young black females during an interview with Essence. The actress claimed how important it is to have compassion for the pain that young girls of color experience. These women need to come together as one, to provide the necessary guidance and support those young girls of color need in order to have a better future. Between Oprah Winfrey’s love for teaching young girls confidence, Michelle Obama’s love for girls education, and Gabrielle Union’s love for compassion these women can all come together to conquer the goal of creating a better future for young black females.
Marc Mauer, the author of Young Black Men and the Criminal Justice System: A Growing National Problem indicated in his journal post that “almost 23% of black males between the ages of 20-29 end up in prison, jail, on probation or parole on any given day.” What black communities have struggled with in the recent years has been the effect of injustice actions caused by law enforcement officials. Biased and unfair treatments from law enforcers are usually towards black males rather than black females. When watching the news and when searching around on the different social media sites, we find that police brutality victims are males and not females. Some may believe that in order to help prevent future police brutality event from happening, we have to start with our young men who suffer in lower class communities.
There are obvious facts that show how police brutality affects more men than women. The MBK movement that Obama has exclusively for males has again caused women to be infuriated because they, too, need guidance and reassurance from leaders. In fact, studies have shown that African American males make more money than an average African American female. It is understandable that young black males need influencers and leaders because of what is going on around the world today such as police brutality. Young black males have been the highest target for police brutality. But, at the same time, our young black females need as much attention as they can get too!
In order for communities to be successful in completing common goals, everyone in the community must participate. A community can general be defined as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Found in a recent article, the author stated that in order for a community to be successful, it needs to fulfill five roles. Every community needs a host. The host is in charge of entertaining the guest. In this case, the host of the MBK movement in each individual community is in charge of making sure that all of the young men are being properly entertained and engaged on what the goal of the movement is. The facilitator, who is in charge of making sure that everyone in the group, is conversing. In every group, you’ll find the popular one. Kevin Durant recently announced his partnership with the MBK movement to help decrease the absenteeism in schools. With the joining of Kevin Durant, the movement will increase in numbers since Durant is such an inspiring individual to young men. Opposite of popular, there’s the instigator. The MBK movement needs to have someone who isn’t afraid to tell the truth to the young men even though it may hurt. Lastly, every community needs to have a voyeur, the one who lends a hand to everyone. Having a variety of leaders play these roles can be extremely helpful in bringing the community together in helping young males and females.
In spite of the fact that white politicians are part of the My Brother’s Keeper movement, there are positive statistics that have come out of the movement in the past few years. Author Jason Parham wrote some accomplishments that the MBK movement has had in hundreds of neighborhoods across the country. In his article, Parham stated that “In raising more than $600 million private sector and philanthropic grants and $1 billion in low-interest financing, MBK helped cut Compton’s homicide rate by 64 percent in 2015, sparked employment for 10,000 young men in Philadelphia as part of the 2015 Summer Jobs Challenge, and empowered 12,000 incarcerated men to pursue postsecondary education and workforce training with the help of Pell Grants” (Parham pg. 4). These are just some statistics that reached the milestone goals that Obama had intact for the program. Author Yohannes Abraham also explained another success story which discussed a financial service partnering with an 8th grade mentoring program which teach the young men of color how to fill out applications and go through mock interviews. The My Brother’s Keeper movement is sparking interest in communities all around the world. Community leaders and companies are taking the initiative in helping the younger aged males become better individuals in helping them with things that will help them postsecondary education and careers.
Since the Obama’s initiative to help young black men of color, there have also been positive comments that people have made regarding the movement and its importance. Patrick from New Jersey works in the Newark Public School district and most of his students come from poverty, are in gangs, and are involved in crimes that happen throughout the city. He believes that Obama’s initiative is a good first step in helping the youth in black communities. Another comment made by a woman in New England agreed that poverty is the main cause as to why young males struggle in the educational settings. Poverty can affect not only the parent’s well-being, but the child’s too! When children a born into poverty, all they know is struggle. Studies have also shown that communities who suffer with poverty are the main communities who have gangs and violence.
Despite the fact that the My Brother’s Keeper is a positive movement, it is exclusively for males. Black women have questioned Obama’s initiative. As soon as the MBK movement was released to the public, over 1,000 women from all different backgrounds all around the world wrote letters to Obama addressing the exclusiveness of the movement. Paul Butler, wrote an article for CNN, Why did President Obama leave out the girls? The women’s letters were sent out to urge him to include the sisters just as much as he did the brothers. One writer, by the name of Legertha Butler, wrote that “she didn’t march with Martin Luther King Jr. to get the “white only” signs taken down, only to have the nation’s first black President put up a sign that says “men only” (Butler pg. 2). In the last few years, the teenage pregnancy rate has sky rocketed. I look around the people I have graduated high school with back in 2015 and I can name at least 10-15 females who are either pregnant now, or already have their first child. I only graduated with 63 people. Programs for young black females are just as important as they are for young black males. Like boys, girls are too born into poverty and go through the same struggles males do when growing up in single-parent households. Like Obama’s MBK movement, women need to take on the role with affiliation of young females too! Providing support and guidance for young females and males of color can only improve small communities. Girl’s fates are just as important as boys are. In an article called “Dreams from My Mother” the author, Natalie Hopinson, states how boy’s fates are completely linked to the fate of his mother, and also to the fate of his female’s peers. Young girls of color will then be the next generation of black mother’s to young black boys. It is important that they are raised to take on responsibilities and to get an education so they can support their families just as much as males do. What’s ironic is the fact that Obama was raised by his single mother. We would think that seeing his mother’s daily struggles would lead him and inspire him to create a movement for young girls to provide guidance and support.
The ultimate goal of Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper movement is to provide support and guidance to men and young boys of color. But, can we really say that Obama is helping the black communities, when in reality, he is only helping out half of the young community. Young black females also need attention to when it comes to them having a better future. With the coming together of Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Gabrielle Union, the young black community can strive as a whole. Although, females have not been a main target to police brutality, they too deal with every day struggles. Communities need to focus on providing support and guidance to both young black males and females because they are our future. They are our future doctors, our future educators, and our future leaders and we want them to be able to take on the important responsibilities of adulthood.
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