White House to Report on Challenges for Girls of Color

by Jesse J. Holland for AP

The White House is planning to focus on improving the lives of girls and women of color, after months of complaints that they were left out of the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative for young men.

White House aides planned Wednesday to convene a Working Group on Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls of Color, an offshoot of White House Council on Women and Girls, which is chaired by White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. The administration will also release a report on the work it has done to help minority women and girls.

The gathering comes at a time when black women are in the spotlight courtesy of President Barack Obama's announcement that he would nominate a black woman, Loretta E. Lynch, to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, and midterm elections in which Mia Love of Utah became the first black woman Republican elected to the House of Representatives.

The president, who is on a trip to China, will not attend.

Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation who convened the Black Women's Roundtable Public Policy Network, hopes the discussion will spark a movement to help women and girls.

"This is part of the White House listening and engaging and figuring how they can continue to address issues impacting women and girls and knowing that there are unique things that affect women and girls of color," Campbell said.

Advocates have called for a separate focus on minority girls and women since the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative was unveiled in February. Under the initiative, businesses, foundations and community groups coordinate investments to come up with or support programs that help keep young men out of the criminal justice system and improve their access to higher education. Several foundations pledged more than $200 million over five years to promote that goal.

Anything less than full inclusion in My Brother's Keeper is "basically another frame for separate and still unequal," said Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum. Last June, she made the case for inclusion in My Brother's Keeper in a letter to Obama that was signed by more than 1,000 women.

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

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