While welcoming the Brother’s Keeper Initiative as a needed step in addressing unmet needs in at risk communities, Legal Momentum today sounded a cautionary note as well. “We’re concerned about the message it sends in not explicitly including girls and young women of color,” said Legal Momentum Government Affairs Vice-President, Lisalyn R. Jacobs. “The Initiative contemplates intervention in a number of key areas from impacting suspension rates to increasing the numbers of job- and apprenticeship-training programs. These are interventions that we know are desperately needed for young women of color as well. We are heartened that men of color are raising this concern, too, and hopeful that the Initiative’s programming will unfold in a way that serves both boys and girls in at risk communities.”
With respect to the particular concerns we highlight, we know that the out of school suspension rates of Black girls is higher than that experienced by White, Asian, and Latino girls combined. We also know from our experience with the small, yet highly effective Women and Non-Traditional Occupations Program that not enough young women are being told about the availability of vocational education, or apprenticeship training programs. That deprives both them and their families of options and opportunities for economic stability and good paying jobs. “We agree with the President that there’s a need for an “all-hands-on-deck effort,” in our most impoverished, or otherwise at-risk communities, said Carol Robles-Roman, President of Legal Momentum, “but we know that until and unless the training, the opportunities and the interventions are afforded to boys and girls, young women and men of color, alike, we will not have made the investment that’s needed in communities, in families, and in our collective future.”
About Legal Momentum
Legal Momentum is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970 to advance the rights of women by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy in three broad areas: economic justice, freedom from gender-based violence and equality under the law. For more information visit www.legalmomentum.org.