Being born and raised in one of the most diverse communities in the State of New York, I have witnessed firsthand the many challenges boys and young men of color face in completing their education and achieving successful careers. When I became Speaker, I promised to do everything in my power to fight for policies and resources that would bring our communities to a better place than they were before. We in the Assembly Majority believe that building pathways to success for our youth is a critical part of achieving that goal and for many years, we championed the need for additional support and resources to help those students who face significant obstacles to academic achievement.
In 2014, President Obama launched the My Brother's Keeper Initiative and urged states to tackle the challenges facing disadvantaged students early on so they too could pursue successful futures. The Assembly Majority has fully supported this mission and we proudly led New York to become the first state to enact My Brother's Keeper into law earlier this year. Today, the New York State Education Department announced the availability of $9 million in new grant funding to take the next steps in this important effort to improve the outcomes of boys and young men of color.
With these new grant opportunities, we move forward by calling on fellow stakeholders to partner with us to achieve the best academic environment possible for all our students. The grants will focus on the areas of family and community engagement and teacher opportunities, all of which are critical factors in strengthening student achievement. We look forward to building on this progress and to empowering every student to realize their full potential.
I commend Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa for all of their efforts to advance this important initiative and for their dedication to promoting a brighter future for all students.