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Jun 13, 2014

My Brother's Keeper Is a Great Fathers’ Day Gift for Our Children

When President Obama announced his My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, the Black Women’s Roundtable was present to witness this historic announcement during Black History Month. We remember vividly the air of excitement and anticipation that reverberated in the room, on social media and across the country.

So many of us were surprised to hear that there are some who believe that President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative is too narrow because it does not focus on women and girls of color. While we respect their right to their opinion, we must respectfully disagree.

First, as a group of Black women who work daily to improve the lives of Black people, we see firsthand the systemic impact that targeted race and gender-based empowerment approaches have on our Black youth to live their best lives.

Second, on a personal level, as mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, aunts and mentors of Black men and boys, we know well the positive impact fathers, father figures and mentors have on molding our male family members into being strong men and active fathers in their own children's lives.

We believe that the 100 Black Men of America, Inc.’s motto is right on target: What they see is what they will be. So we stand in solidarity with President Obama and thank him for having the bold vision to initiate My Brother’s Keeper and actualize his commitment by investing resources to focus on improving the lives of Black men and boys.

So, on behalf of the Black Women's Roundtable that represents millions of Black women, mothers, aunts, wives and significant others, we salute President Obama for creating My Brother's Keeper. We believe it is not a flawed choice to focus on our Black men and boys.

While we fully agree that much work is needed to improve the lives of Black women and girls, we also know it is vitally important that the "My Brother's Keeper" Initiative stays focused on men and boys of color. Our Black men and boys are dying out of season on the streets of our nation every day. There is a “fierce urgency of now” that calls for decisive, targeted action to address this crisis in our community.

Further, President Obama recently released the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Task Force Report that states the work of MBK will improve opportunity for all young people and create opportunity for both boys and girls of all backgrounds. The MBK report states: “To ensure that all young Americans have the opportunities they need to reach their full potential, we must adopt approaches that empower all of our children with the tools to succeed as they move through key life stages. Every recommendation improves opportunity for all Americans – regardless of race or gender and nothing in the report takes away from the work to uplift all Americans.”

The Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) along with many other organizations representing women of color have been actively working with the White House Council on Women and Girls since it was created almost on day one of President Obama’s first term in February 2009. There have been great strides made in addressing issues impacting women and girls of color. Still, we understand that there is much more to be done to address chronic disparities impacting Black women and girls.

Recently we released the BWR’s “Black Women in the U. S. Report, 2014” that shows there is a critical need for more targeted public and private resources focused on Black women and girls. Therefore, we strongly encourage President Obama to invest more resources focused on women and girls of color through the White House Council on Women and Girls.

We believe My Brother’s Keeper is a great Father's Day gift for Black children, girls of color and our families. So it is our hope that President Obama will not be distracted or disillusioned by the naysayers—because our children need the vision of My Brother’s Keeper to be realized, so they can dream big dreams that will manifest into reality.

Melanie L. Campbell
President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation & Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

Bishop Allyson Abrams
Pastor, Empowerment Liberation Cathedral

Monifa Bandele
Senior Campaign Director, MomsRising, Brooklyn, NY

Salandra Bentonr
Convener, Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Black Women's Roundtable FL

Clayola Brown
President, A. Philip Randolph Institute

Latosha Brown
President, Truthspeaks Consulting, Atlanta, GA

Helen Butler
Executive Director, Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda/Black Women's Roundtable GA

Waikinya Clanton
Executive Director, NOBEL Women

Karma Cottman
Executive Director, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Edrea Davis
Producer, Dogon Village Productions

Felicia Davis
Director, Building Green Initiative
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

Reverend Leah D. Daughtry
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

Cynthia Downs-Taylor
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable, Tidewater, VA

Jotaka Eaddy
Senior Advisor to the President & CEO and
Senior Director, Voting Rights, NAACP

Lisa Fager
President & Co-Founder, Industry Ears
Senior Advisor, Black Youth Vote!

Vivica A. Fox
Actress & Producer, Foxy Brown Productions

Patricia Green
Founder & Chief Strategist, IC Linkages, LLC

Chanelle P. Hardy, Esq.
Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director National Urban League Washington Bureau

Lisa Sharon Harper
Senior Director of Mobilizing, SOJOURNERS

Nancy Harvin
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

Patricia Hobson, Ph.D.
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

Holli Holliday
Partner, Holliday Advisors, LLC

Janaye Ingram
Acting National Executive Director, National Action Network

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

Carol Joyner
National Policy Director, Labor Project for Working Families

Jacqueline LaRue Johnson-Parker
Partner, Gagne Parker CPAs

Mother Love
CEO, Mother Love Productions Talk Show Host,

Adrienne King-McCorkle
Member, Black Youth Vote! Alumni Group

Rev. Dr. Judith C. Moore
Pastor, Greater Allen AME Church
Executive Director, Sisters Saving Ourselves NOW/Girls Excel on Purpose, Pittsburgh, PA

Dr. Sandra Owens Lawson
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

Judy Lubin
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

The Honorable Stephanie Moore
Commissioner, City of Kalamazoo, MI

Claire Nelson, Ph.D.
Founder & President, Institute of Caribbean Studies

Jamida Orange
Chair, Martin Luther King Jr. March Committee, Atlanta, GA

Kijafa Parker
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

Shantel Pettigrew
Black Youth Vote! Intern, NCBCP Student, Howard University

Barbara Perkins
President, International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute, Inc., Los Angeles, CA

Lisa Ransom
President, Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation

Rene Redwood
CEO, Redwood Enterprise

Delisa Saunders, PhD
Deputy Director, Civil, Human Rights & Community Relations, American Federation of Teachers

Dr. Elsie L. Scott
Founding Director, Ronald W. Walters Leadership & Public Policy Center, Howard University

Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Center for Community & Economic Justice
St. Petersburg, FL

Makeda Smith
President, Jazzmyne PR
Los Angeles, CA

Joycelyn Tate
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

Adrianne Todman
Executive Director, DC Housing Authority

The Honorable Sheila Tyson
City Councilwoman, Birmingham, AL Advisor, Alabama Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Tonya Tyson
Member, Black Women’s Roundtable

A. Shuanise Washington
President & CEO, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Yvonne Wheeler
National Representative, AFGE District 12 Long Beach, CA

Bishop Diana Williams
Chief of Staff, The World Conference of Mayors

Robin Williams
Associate Director, Civil Rights & Community Action, UFCW

Neely A. Williams, M.Div.
Administrator & CEO, Community Partners Network Nashville, TN

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner
Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network, Co-Founder & President, Skinner Leadership Institute

--Partial Listing as of 6/12/14—
**Affiliations are listed for information purposes.

For more information contact Edrea Davis, Communications Director, NCBCP/BWR at or (818) 613-9521.

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