Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. recently wrote to President Barack Obama asking him to create a White House Council on Men and Boys.

The world’s oldest black Greek-lettered organization wrote to Obama after the president last month established the White House Council on Women and Girls.

“Mr. President, we are keenly aware of the challenges that face women and girls. However, we believe a focus must also be placed on men and boys,” the Rev. Herman “Skip” Mason Jr. (photo insert), general president of Alpha, said in the letter. “As a father of a six-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter, like you I want to make sure that there are well-educated, responsible and community-oriented men for them to look up to as they grow and develop.”

The letter cited a 2006 report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education showing that only 35 percent of black male students graduated from high school in Chicago and only 26 percent in New York. Of the black males who enter college, about 22 percent earn a degree.

The fraternity offered to partner with the White House to make the council a reality. Mason said the council should address health initiatives for men and boys, academic and social development initiatives and manhood and fatherhood accountability initiatives.

The fraternity last year created the Alpha Phi Alpha Charitable Foundation, which provides scholarships to deserving young men. This year it began a new initiative, “From the Highchair to Higher Education.” Its primary focus is to help boys, at the youngest age possible, make it through high school and college.

To read the full letter to President Obama, click here.

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