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Obama Vows to Help Young Black Men

By Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. NNPA Columnist | 2/7/2014, noon

We are, therefore, pleased that our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have stepped up to the plate of self-responsibility on the issue of helping young Black males and have endorsed a remarkably successful pilot effort led by Ronald Mason, President of the Southern University System in Louisiana entitled “Five Fifths Agenda for America.”

President Mason’s vision for this long-term program is a comprehensive approach to nurture and empower young Black males.  There are four underlying strategic goals of the Five Fifths Agenda:  1.To increase the number of Black males that attain a bachelor degree; 2. To increase the number of Black male teachers and graduates in the sciences and math; 3. HBCUs will serve as institutional homes and development centers for long-term systemic change for America; and 4. To promote, foster and facilitate a truthful, national conversation about the relationship between Black men and America, both historically and contemporarily.

When President Obama referred to helping “young men of color,” I smiled because I already knew the Obama administration was actively supporting efforts to get the Five Fifths Agenda for America adequately funded. We thank President Obama not just for another great speech but also for his leadership, action and outreach to our young brothers who need to be uplifted.  Lastly, we remain very grateful to President Ronald Mason, Southern University, NAFEO the White House Initiative on HBCUs for responding to this issue.