The New York Times is reporting that the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in a blunt acknowledgment that thousands of young black and Latino men are cut off from New York's civic, educational and economic life, plans to spend nearly $130 million on far-reaching measures to improve their circumstances.
The program, the most ambitious policy push of Bloomberg's third term, would overhaul how the government interacts with a population of about 315,000 New Yorkers who are disproportionately undereducated, incarcerated and unemployed.
To help pay for the initiative, Bloomberg will use his personal fortune to cover about a quarter of the cost of the program, with a $30 million donation from his foundation. His contribution would be matched by fellow billionaire George Soros, a hedge fund manager, with the remaining cost being paid by the city.
Starting this fall, the administration said it would place job-recruitment centers in public-housing complexes where many young black and Latino men live, retrain probation officers in an effort to reduce recidivism, establish new-fatherhood classes, and assess schools on the academic progress of male black and Latino students.
Well, it's about time that people with the means and wherewithal to help those most in need did something about it. The unemployment rates among young black and brown men and women are startling. The city and country have to get a handle on unemployment, because society will only get worse when the needs of those that are most vulnerable are ignored or marginalized.
Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for acknowledging the problem and taking an active and participatory role in addressing it. Hopefully others in similar financial and social positions will follow his example.
Read more at the New York Times.
In other news: Aretha Franklin to Give Free NYC Concert.