Newark to participate in President Obama's My Brother's Keeper program

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 03, 2015

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has signed the city to take President Barack Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative.

 

NEWARK — Newark will participate in the White House's My Brother’s Keeper initiative which addresses the social-economic barriers facing minority boys, city officials confirmed.

Earlier this year President Barack Obama announced the launch of “My Brother’s Keeper,” which brings private foundations and companies to support programs across the country aimed at helping young minority men develop grade-level reading skills, become prepared for college and careers among other goals.

The city's program will be directed by Rev. David Jefferson Jr., the son of David Jefferson Sr, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, city officials confirmed.

It's unclear what the scope and funding of the program will be in Newark, but the goals will include preparing youth to attend school, community garden and beautification projects, youth summits and leadership retreats, the city said in a statement.

Further details are expected to released next week.

As part of the initiative, the city is planning to host a forum on Tuesday about men of color and law enforcement which will feature Jackson Jr., Newark mayor Ras Baraka, police director Eugene Venable, YouthBuild Executive Director Rob Clark, Ebony Magazine writer Keith Reed and New Yorker Magazine writer Jelani Cobb, the city said in a statement.

The forum will occur at 11 a.m. at Central High School, where Baraka served as principal.

Panelists are expected to discuss ways to reduce crime, improve education and mentoring, the city said.

Obama first announced My Brother's Keeper initiative in February, with about $200 million pledged from private foundations and companies to help address gaps in opportunity for young men of color.

The initiative has since expanded with more donations and partners.

And in September, Obama called on cities and towns across the the country to become "MBK Communities" and implement a "cradle-to-college-and-career strategy" to improve the lives of local youth.

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