President Barack Obama has launched and initiative called ``My Brother's Keeper.''

    Speaking at the White House, Obama said stronger efforts are needed to create more opportunities for young minority men and to improve conditions that keep them impoverished and imprisoned in disproportionate numbers. Ticking off statistics on fatherhood, literacy, crime and poverty, Obama said boys and young men of color  consistently do worse in society.

    And he personalized the message, telling the crowd in the White House East Room, that growing up without a father, he made excuses, bad choices, and ultimately sold himself short.

    Under Obama's initiative, businesses, foundations and community groups would coordinate their investments to develop and support programs that keep youths in school and out of the criminal justice system, while improving their access to higher education. Several foundations pledged at least $200 million over five years to promote that goal.

    White House adviser Valerie Jarrett says the president and first lady Michelle Obama see the effort as a moral responsibility that they plan to pursue ``for the rest of their lives.''  (Associated Press)

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