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Rangel Joins President Obama's “My Brother's Keeper" Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Congressman Charles B. Rangel joined President Barack Obama at the White House to support the launch of the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, a new plan aimed at finding ways in which business and civic leaders can intervene at just the right moment to keep young black men and other men of color on a successful course. Rangel was one of the few Members of Congress invited, among local and national leaders in philanthropy, business, government, faith communities, and media.

"I am honored to be called on by President Obama to support his launch of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that will help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead," said Rangel. "Growing up in the streets of Harlem, I was able to go to college and law school with the help of the G.I. bill and great mentors in the community. I know firsthand the value of providing opportunities to those who may not have adequate resources to begin with."

For decades, opportunity has disproportionately lagged behind for boys and especially young men of color.  Blacks constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population in America. As far as economic opportunities, the Black unemployment rate is 12.1 percent, almost doubling the national unemployment rate of 6.6 percent.

The “My Brother’s Keeper" initiative brings together leading foundations and businesses that will collaboratively implement strategies in cities across the country, focusing on key moments in the lives of these young men where interventions have been shown to have the greatest impact -- things like making sure children arrive at school ready to learn, and reducing negative interactions with the criminal justice system.

"As a founding Member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Representative of a congressional district that has one of the largest minority populations in the nation, I have dedicated my life to ensuring that everyone has the tools to succeed in life, regardless of background. I am proud to join the President's effort to unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color – something that will not only benefit them, but all Americans," Rangel said.

President Obama also signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother's Keeper Task Force to help determine which public and private efforts are working, how the Federal government can support those efforts, and how to get more involvement in those efforts across the board.