Magic Johnson to help lead effort for black and Hispanic young men

Magic Johnson will be joined in the effort by (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Magic Johnson will be joined in the effort by Deloitte's  Joe Echevarria. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

President Obama will announce Friday that he has tasked former basketball star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson with co-leading a private effort focused on supporting boys and young men of color. Johnson will join Joe Echevarria, chief executive of Deloitte, in captaining the effort, known as "My Brother’s Keeper."

Obama will make the announcement at a meeting with aides and Cabinet secretaries working on the effort, which he launched three months ago. “My Brother’s Keeper” seeks to leverage government, corporate and non-profit programs in order to direct resources and attention to the unique problems facing young black and Hispanic men.

A 90-day evaluation of the effort has generated a series of recommendations, including improving mentor programs, eliminating harsh disciplinary actions in preschool, and making sure more boys of color can read at grade level by third grade. It also calls for increasing high school graduation rates, summer employment and apprenticeship programs for men to gain entry-level jobs. Finally, the group is working toward reducing racial and ethnic bias in the racial and criminal justice systems.

Obama has already received commitments of $200 million to help fund the project from a range of philanthropies. At the meeting, Obama will announce that Johnson and Echevarria will work on figuring out how the private sector can do more to carry out the aims of the program.

"In the coming days and weeks, foundations and other private sector organizations will independently announce their specific commitments to help ensure boys and young men of color can succeed," a White House official said.

 

Zachary A. Goldfarb is a staff writer covering the White House, focusing on President Obama’s economic, financial and fiscal policy.
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