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Development of Boys and Young Men of Color: Implications of Developmental Science for My Brother's Keeper Initiative

Samuel L. Odom (lead and issue editor), Kelly L. Maxwell (editor), Iheoma Iruka (editor), & Stephanie Ridley (assistant editor)
Social Policy Report

From the editors:
"An abiding belief in American society is in the ideal that everyone should have a fair chance at success in life, regardless of origin, upbringing, race, gender, or ethnicity. A primary reflection of this value is in President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which has the purpose of activating and coordinating federal, state, and private efforts that may improve the life outcomes of boys and young men of color. In this report, the authors describe this ambitious initiative and draw from developmental science to elaborate on several feature elements." read this issue of Social Policy Report

From "Development of Boys and Young Men of Color:Implications of Developmental Science for My Brother’s Keeper Initiative," a report by Oscar A. Barbarin  (Maryland), Velma McBride Murry (Vanderbilt), Patrick Tolan (Virginia), Sandra Graham (UCLA), and the Boys of Color Research Collaborative
"On almost every indicator of wellbeing,the vulnerability of boys and young men of color (BMOC) is unmistakable. On negative indicators such as poor health, academic deficits, unemployment, and incarceration, they are over-represented. Conversely, on positive indicators, their presence is barely registered... In a bold move to draw attention to and to address this problem, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memo on February 27, 2014 entitled 'Creating and Expanding Ladders of Opportunity for Boys and Young Men of Color.' This memo established a high level presidential commission to gather information, propose policies, and implement programs to place more BMOC on a positive developmental trajectory." see page 3 for more

From “Building ‘Ladders of Opportunity’ for Boys and Young Men of Color Requires Attention to Gender, Race, and Racism,” commentary by Joanna Lee Williams (Virginia)
"...the police shooting epidemic of young Black men can no longer be overlooked, and masses of Americans are demanding those in positions of power prove that Black Lives Matter; recent rhetoric about young Latino males, who may be perceived as immigrants regardless of their citizenship status, paints them as “criminals” and 'rapists'... and young men of Middle Eastern or Western Asian descent are under heightened scrutiny amidst fears of terrorism." see page 22 for more

From “Are There Missing Steps of the Proposed ‘Ladders of Opportunity’ for Boys and Young Males of Color? Implications for Intersectionality”
commentary by Michael Cunningham (Tulane)

"I would go even further to challenge the developmental science community to be especially astute to developmental phenomena when addressing the President’s 'Ladders of Opportunity.' Specifically, the second decade of life needs more attention in the challenge. The importance of early- and middle-childhood experiences is well documented. These areas should not be ignored. However, early-, middle-, and lateadolescent experiences are foundational for healthy adult functioning." see page 25 for more


Barbarin, O. A., Murry, V. M., Tolan, P., & Graham, S. (2016). Development of boys and young men of color: Implications of developmental science for My Brother's Keeper Initiative. Social Policy Report, 29(3).