My Brother’s Keeper

President Obama signs the
President Obama signs the “My Brother’s Keeper” presidential memorandum 2/27/14

My Brother’s Keeper

The “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative will bring government agencies, foundations and companies together to test a range of strategies to support young men to keep them in school and out of the criminal justice system.

My Brother’s Keeper strives to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential.

Participants will include youth groups like the Chicago-based group called “Becoming a Man“, Michael Rubinger, chief executive of the Local Initiatives Support Corp.; scholars such as Robert Putnam, a Harvard University professor; business leaders such as Thomas Donohue, the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the former basketball star and businessman; cabinet officials Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Education Secretary Arne DuncanLabor Secretary Thomas Perez , General Colin Powell, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Adam Silver, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, and  many more leaders from key national and regional philanthropic foundations and major businesses, all of whom understand what is at stake with this effort.  When we let this many boys and young men fall behind – we are crippling our ability to reach our full potential as a nation.

Learn more:


Preisdent Obama establishes a Task Force with representatives from across the federal government to issue recommendations aimed at improving the life outcomes of all young people from cradle to college to career.

Pathways for Youth Employment: Federal Resources for Employers: This resource guide highlights a diverse set of federal resources available to private businesses, non-profits, faith and secular community-based organizations, public agencies, tribes, labor organizations, and academic institutions that offer entry-level opportunities for youth.

American Apprenticeship Grants: In December 2014, President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announced a $100 million American Apprenticeship Grant competition for public-private partnerships, including employer-led and state/regional consortia, to expand registered apprenticeship programs in specific high-growth industries, such as health care, biotechnology, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

Federal Resources Playbook for Registered Apprenticeship: This playbook was released by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employers, educational institutions, training providers, and workforce development professionals leverage more than $50 billion a year in federal funding in support of apprenticeship programs

  Champions of Change for Educational Excellence for African Americans





44 thoughts on “My Brother’s Keeper

  1. WH

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:15 AM
    President Obama departs White House
    South Lawn

    11:30 AM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews

    12:00 PM
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    1:50 PM
    President Obama arrives in Minnesota
    Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport

    2:00 PM
    2:15 PM
    President Obama tours the Metro Transit Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility
    Union Depot, St. Paul, Minnesota

    3:00 PM
    President Obama announces the launch of a competition encouraging new investments to create jobs, and restore our crumbling roads and bridges
    Union Depot, St Paul, Minnesota

    4:00 PM
    4:05 PM
    President Obama departs Minnesota
    Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:10 PM
    President Obama arrives Joint Base Andrews

    6:25 PM
    President Obama arrives White House
    South Lawn

    7:00 PM
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  2. My Brother’s Keeper

    The “My Brother’s Keeper” will bring government agencies, foundations and companies together to test a range of strategies to support young men to keep them in school and out of the criminal justice system.

    My Brother’s Keeper strives to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential.

    Participants will include youth groups like the Chicago-based group called “Becoming a Man“, Michael Rubinger, chief executive of the Local Initiatives Support Corp.; scholars such as Robert Putnam, a Harvard University professor; business leaders such as Thomas Donohue, the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the former basketball star and businessman; cabinet officials Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Education Secretary Arne DuncanLabor Secretary Thomas Perez and others.

    • Obama steps up efforts to help young men of color
      My Brother’s Keeper, an effort to help young black and Latino men avoid the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ and reach their potential, will involve the private sector as well as government agencies.

      February 11, 2014 By Christi Parsons – losangelestimes

      WASHINGTON — President Obama will launch an initiative aimed at improving the lives of young black and Latino men by bringing businesses and foundations together with government agencies to change what an administration official called the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

      Obama plans to unveil the initiative, called My Brother’s Keeper, on Thursday. The move is the latest in a series of efforts by the president to spur social change outside the stalemated legislative process, and represents an escalation of his efforts to target the problems faced by young men of color.

      Obama has met privately with minority youth in their communities and at the White House. But in his State of the Union speech last month, he pledged to go further, saying he would bring more of his resources as president to bear on the social problems that block their success.

      “I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential,” he said.

      The initiative will probably include changes to government policies that create undue barriers to opportunity, said an administration official who asked not to be identified in order to discuss the proposal before the president announced it.

      As an example of the kinds of actions that might be involved, the official pointed to recent guidelines the departments of Education and Justice sent to school districts to prompt them to change “zero tolerance” discipline policies. Those policies, aimed at potentially disruptive behavior, have had a disproportionately harsh impact on minority students, particularly boys, the two departments said.

      But much of the initiative is expected to focus on private-sector activities, with the White House as a catalyst.

      Obama is expected to appear with other prominent black and Latino men to talk about how businesses and foundations can work together to help children arrive at school ready to learn and stay away from criminal activity.

      In addition to encouraging corporations to contribute to training and education programs, the president hopes to help build partnerships between businesses and grass-roots organizations working with at-risk youth.

      The campaign is meant to create a range of programs that deal with such challenges as literacy, early learning and efforts to help young men find jobs and career opportunities, the administration official said.

      The president is expected to announce corporate donations to help fund the campaign, along with a federal effort to refocus resources on programs that have proven effective at helping minority youth.

      For more:

    • An Update on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

      Broderick Johnson and Jim Shelton April 09, 2014 10:50 AM EDT

      “My administration’s policies—from early childhood education to job training, to minimum wages—are designed to give a hand up to everybody, every child, every American willing to work hard and take responsibility for their own success. That’s the larger agenda.

      But the plain fact is there are some Americans who, in the aggregate, are consistently doing worse in our society—groups that have had the odds stacked against them in unique ways that require unique solutions; groups who’ve seen fewer opportunities that have spanned generations. And by almost every measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century in this country are boys and young men of color.”

      President Obama used these words to launch My Brother’s Keeper, his initiative to help ensure that boys and young men of color in America have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

      Since then, the public response has been overwhelming. We’ve heard from private philanthropies and businesses, mayors, state and local leaders, faith organizations, community based non-profits, and thousands of interested citizens, all who are committed to creating more pathways to success for these boys and young men. We will continue to engage and listen to these critical voices and those of the boys and young men this initiative focuses on, as we continue to learn from the efforts of the many stakeholders who have been committed to this cause for years. And we will do our best to live up to the optimism and incredible expectations this initiative has unleashed.

      For more:

    • June 20, 2014

      Statement by the President

      I thank Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for their action today to establish a Mayors Task Force dedicated to the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. “My Brother’s Keeper” is an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure every young person – especially boys and young men of color – can reach their potential. Through this task force, mayors will work to expand universal early childhood programs, promote public-private partnerships that help create more summer jobs, increase and build on existing mentorship programs, and eliminate suspensions and expulsions in preschool and other early learning settings. I commend these mayors, representing cities across the nation, for making these issues a priority in their communities, and I look forward to working with them to expand opportunity and improve the odds for every child in America.

    • February 27, 2014

      East Room
      3:43 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Well, good afternoon, everybody.

      AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.

      THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House. And thank you, Christian, for that outstanding introduction. And thank you for cheering for the White Sox, which is the right thing to do. (Laughter.) Like your parents and your teachers, I could not be prouder of you. I could not be prouder of the other young men who are here today. But just so we’re clear — you’re only excused for one day of school. (Laughter.) And I’m assuming you’ve got your assignments with you so that you can catch up — perhaps even on the flight back. (Laughter.)

      As Christian mentioned, I first met Christian about a year ago. I visited the Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, which is only about a mile from my house. And Christian was part of this program called “Becoming a Man.” It’s a program that Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced to me. And it helps young men who show a lot of potential but may have gotten in some trouble to stay on the right path.

      They get help with schoolwork, but they also learn life skills like how to be a responsible citizen, and how to deal with life’s challenges, and how to manage frustrations in a constructive way, and how to set goals for themselves. And it works. One study found that, among young men who participate in the BAM program, arrests for violent crimes dropped 44 percent, and they were more likely to graduate from high school. (Applause.)

      So as Christian mentioned, during my visit, they’re in a circle and I sat down in the circle, and we went around, led by their counselor, and guys talked about their lives, talked about their stories. They talked about what they were struggling with, and how they were trying to do the right thing, and how sometimes they didn’t always do the right thing. And when it was my turn, I explained to them that when I was their age I was a lot like them. I didn’t have a dad in the house. And I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.

      And I remember when I was saying this — Christian, you may remember this — after I was finished, the guy sitting next to me said, “Are you talking about you?” (Laughter.) I said, yes.

      And the point was I could see myself in these young men. And the only difference is that I grew up in an environment that was a little bit more forgiving, so when I made a mistake the consequences were not as severe. I had people who encouraged me — not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders — and they’d push me to work hard and study hard and make the most of myself. And if I didn’t listen they said it again. And if I didn’t listen they said it a third time. And they would give me second chances, and third chances. They never gave up on me, and so I didn’t give up on myself.

      I told these young men my story then, and I repeat it now because I firmly believe that every child deserves the same chances that I had. And that’s why we’re here today — to do what we can, in this year of action, to give more young Americans the support they need to make good choices, and to be resilient, and to overcome obstacles, and achieve their dreams.

      For more:

    • February 27, 2014

      FACT SHEET: Opportunity for all: President Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to Build Ladders of Opportunity For Boys and Young Men of Color


      President Obama is taking action to launch My Brother’s Keeper – a new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead. For decades, opportunity has lagged behind for boys and young men of color. But across the country, communities are adopting approaches to help put these boys and young men on the path to success. The President wants to build on that work. We can learn from communities that are partnering with local businesses and foundations to connect these boys and young men to mentoring, support networks, and skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way up into the middle class. And the Administration will do its part by helping to identify and promote programs that work.

      That starts by using proven tools that expand opportunity at key moments in the lives of these young people. The President believes this includes ensuring access to basic health, nutrition, and to high-quality early education to get these kids reading and ready for school at the youngest age. But that’s not enough. We need to partner with communities and police to reduce violence and make our classrooms and streets safer. And we need to help these young men stay in school and find a good job– so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to their communities and build decent lives for themselves and their families.

      New Presidential Task Force to Expand Opportunity. President Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, an interagency effort, chaired by Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, that will help us determine what public and private efforts are working and how to expand upon them, how the Federal Government’s own policies and programs can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community in these efforts.

      The Task Force will work across executive departments and agencies to:

      * Assess the impact of Federal policies, regulations, and programs of general applicability on boys and young men of color, so as to develop proposals that will enhance positive outcomes and eliminate or reduce negative ones.

      * Recommend, where appropriate, incentives for the broad adoption by national, State, and local public and private decision makers of effective and innovative strategies and practices for providing opportunities to and improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.

      * Create an Administration-wide “What Works” online portal to disseminate successful programs and practices that improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.

      * Develop a comprehensive public website, to be maintained by the Department of Education, that will assess, on an ongoing basis, critical indicators of life outcomes for boys and young men of color in absolute and relative terms.

      * Work with external stakeholders to highlight the opportunities, challenges, and efforts affecting boys and young men of color.

      * Recommend to the President means of ensuring sustained efforts within the Federal Government and continued partnership with the private sector and philanthropic community as set forth in the Presidential Memorandum.

      For the entire article:

    • The My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

      Published on May 30, 2014

      President Obama is taking action to launch My Brother’s Keeper — a new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead. Learn how you can get involved at

    • July 21, 2014

      Remarks by the President at My Brother’s Keeper Town Hall

      Walker Jones Education Campus
      Washington, D.C.

      12:00 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Give it up for Chris Paul. (Applause.) Everybody have a seat. Chris was saying he was going to be nervous, but I’d seen all those State Farm ads, so I knew he could perform. (Laughter.) Not to mention how he performs on the court. And I’ve gotten a chance to know Chris over the last several years, and his family, and he is just the kind of person that you want in a leadership position. We are very, very proud of him. And I’m so grateful that he agreed to participate in this.

      Hello, everybody.

      AUDIENCE: Hello!

      THE PRESIDENT: How you all doing today?

      AUDIENCE: Good.

      THE PRESIDENT: Doing good? It is good to be at Walker Jones. I want to thank all of you for being here. I want to thank the school for hosting us. I want to thank the outstanding members of Congress who are here. And I want you all to know that I’m here for a simple reason, and that is I want to hear from many of you, the young people who are here today.

      I just had a chance to meet with a group of young people who are being mentored through a new program we started at the White House. In a few minutes, I’m going to have a chance to take some questions from some of the young people here today, give me a chance to hear from you about what your concerns are, what your dreams and hopes are, what your fears are, and how you think we may be able to help.

      And the reason it’s important for me to be here is because when I look out at some of the young men who are here, you’re where I was 40 — 35 years ago. (Laughter.) I was trying to do the math in my head. I’m not that old yet. And I’ve had a chance to talk to some young people in the past, and I always say that I see myself in the young men who are coming up now.

      When I was in my teens, I didn’t have a father in the house. It took me a while to realize that I was angry about that, and I acted out in some ways. I was raised by a single mom. We didn’t have a lot in terms of wealth, although we had a lot of love in the house and my grandparents helped out. But despite their best efforts, sometimes I made some bad choices. I didn’t always take school as serious as I should have. I made excuses sometimes for misbehavior.

      The only difference between me and extraordinarily talented young men that I see all across the country is I was living in a pretty forgiving environment. So if I made a mistake, I often had a second chance, or I often had a third chance. And some of the costs of making mistakes, they weren’t deadly. I wasn’t going to end up shot. I wasn’t going to end up in jail.

      And as a consequence, for the last five, six, ten years, I’ve constantly been thinking about how can I make sure that I’m evening out the odds a little bit for other young men who could end up being a doctor or a lawyer or a senator or an attorney general or a secretary of education. What is it that we can do to create structures that give them support, that help them make better choices, and that, when you do make a mistake, give you a hand up so you can recover and go ahead and move on to the next phase of your lives?

      So that’s why, earlier this year, we launched what we call My Brother’s Keeper. My Brother’s Keeper isn’t some new, big government program. It’s actually a team effort. It’s all about a whole bunch of folks — educators, business leaders, faith leaders, foundations, government — all working together to give boys and young men of color the tools that they need to succeed and make sure that every young person can reach their potential. And so the reason that we’re here today is to announce some of the pledges that have already been made, some of the commitments that have already been made by a series of institutions that just give you a sense of the kind of progress and excitement that we’ve seen since we launched this initiative.

      For more:

    • July 21, 2014

      FACT SHEET: President Obama Applauds New Commitments in Support of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

      “That’s what ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is all about. Helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works – when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.”

      – President Barack Obama, February 27, 2014

      In February, as part of his plan to make 2014 a year of action focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans, the President unveiled the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. As part of the initiative’s launch, the President also established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force to review public and private sector programs, policies, and strategies and determine ways the Federal Government can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community.

      For more:

    • President Obama Engages Native Youth at My Brother’s Keeper Town Hall

      7/22/14 Raina Thiele, White House Blog – /

      On July 21, President Obama hosted a town hall session where he gave remarks to announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative and engaged in dialogue with young boys and men of color. Youth from the Center for Native American Youth’s Champions for Change program, the Native American Political Leadership Institute’s INSPIRE Initiative, and the Navajo Nation attended the town hall and asked the President about the Administration’s work to support Native American language and cultural preservation. The President reaffirmed his commitment to Native American youth and the importance of honoring one’s roots. Recalling his trip to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in June, he applauded the tribe’s work on Lakota language revitalization and the powerful stories he heard from the tribe’s young people.

      In his remarks, President Obama thanked the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and their partners for committing to establish an MBK task force for Native American boys and men. NCAI will form the task force in partnership with the Center for Native American Youth, the Native American Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Indian Education Association, and UNITY Inc. NCAI stated in a press release that the task force will “coordinate and serve as the central point for sharing important work, opportunities, and resources for our youth.”

      For more:

    • Cherokee Nation Among First to Join Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Initiative

      11/12/14 Cherokee Nation

      TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is among 15 tribes and more than 100 communities nationwide to accept the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

      In September, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative was launched by President Barack Obama so communities could brainstorm to find solutions to help more low-income, young men of color, including Native Americans, graduate from high school and college, become productive citizens and future leaders.

      On Monday, the Cherokee Nation held its first My Brother’s Keeper summit to set goals.

      “As Native people, we have historically shared responsibility addressing issues facing our children and families,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “I believe the My Brother’s Keeper program will help strengthen opportunities for Native youth, especially boys and young men. It will give them the chance to overcome obstacles they face every day, so they can find success in their life.”

      Part of the initiative is to ensure all children are prepared to enter school and read at grade level by the third grade. It also aims to help more young people graduate from high school and complete post-secondary education or college. It asks tribes and communities to ensure the young adults find employment and are safe from violent crime.

      “The My Brother’s Keeper initiative is not a new federal program, but rather a call to action for community leaders and tribal and local governments across the United States,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The program is about leaders working together to build and execute strategies that will give boys and young men the essential tools they need to succeed.”

      Read more

    • Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the My Brother’s Keeper Summit Closing Session

      Memphis, TNUnited States ~ Tuesday, December 9, 2014

      Thank you, Mayor [A.C.] Wharton – and thank you all for being here today. It’s a privilege to join you in convening this important summit – to discuss and advance the groundbreaking My Brother’s Keeper initiative. And it’s a particular pleasure to do so here in the great city of Memphis – a city whose history is bound up in the work we gather to continue, and whose future will be written by the leaders, and especially the young people, in this crowd.

      Over the centuries, Memphis has undergone a remarkable series of transformations – from a hub in the immoral slave trade, helping to fuel a 19th-century economy founded on oppression and built on the backs of those our nation held in chains; to a diverse, inclusive, and thriving urban center – known for its legendary music; vibrant, wonderful culture – and even better barbecue.

      The Memphis of today is in some ways barely recognizable as the city it was just a few short decades ago – near the height of the Civil Rights Movement – when the struggle for equality played out in the streets and in national headlines. Yet the scars of this struggle, and the lingering impacts of legal and institutional discrimination, remain all around us. Over the years, the changes we’ve seen in Memphis have mirrored the ones that have swept across the nation – tearing down barriers and affirming the equality of all men and women. And all of this progress has come thanks to the power of engaged citizens like you, the promise of America’s founding documents, and the passion of leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

      Like so many cities across the American South – from Selma, to Greensboro, to Birmingham; from Tuscaloosa, to Atlanta, to Meridian – Memphis is home to a number of historic sites of great importance to the Civil Rights Era. It was here, in 1968, that sanitation workers went on strike to call for higher wages – and to protest discrimination and dangerous working conditions. It was here, at the Mason Temple not far from where we now stand, that Dr. King famously declared that “[s]omething is happening in Memphis; something is happening with our world.” It was in that very same speech that he told us he had been to the mountaintop and had seen the Promised Land. And it was here, of course – the very next day, at the Lorraine Motel that’s now a museum to the cause he championed, and the work we all must continue – that Dr. King was taken from us, far before his time.

      For more:

    • Obama To Ambitious Teen: ‘You Have This Strength Inside Yourself’

      FEBRUARY 27, 2015 3:36 AM ET NPR

      Noah McQueen is part of “My Brother’s Keeper,” a White House program aimed at young men of color.

      His teen years have been rough, and include several arrests and a short period of incarceration. But last week, he was at the White House. The 18-year-old sat down for a StoryCorps interview with President Obama, who wanted to know more about Noah’s life.

      “Growing up, I didn’t have a stable household, so I believe I attended eight or nine middle schools throughout the course of two or three years,” McQueen says.

      McQueen says his dad lives down the street from him, but he doesn’t really have a relationship with him.

      “Well, that’s one of the things we have in common,” Obama says. “As I get older, I start reflecting on how that affected me. How do you think that affected you?”

      “You kind of learn right and wrong on your own terms,” McQueen says. “I got into fights. And fighting, or getting put out of school is, you know, normal. So that’s how really the trouble started for me being in the juvenile system. I was on the run.”

      “I’m sure you can relate. I feel like as a black man, just me coming on the train over here, I know how we’re perceived. I know how people look at us.”
      – Noah McQueen
      “You were on the run, how so?” Obama asks.

      “From the law,” McQueen laughs.

      “Yeah, what had you done?” Obama says.

      “I believe it was, what’s it called?” McQueen says.

      “What do you mean you believe?” Obama says. “It was something. You know what it was.”

      For the entire article and audio interview:

    • May 04, 2015

      Remarks by the President in Roundtable with My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

      Lehman College
      New York City, New York

      2:29 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just had an opportunity to have a conversation with some outstanding young men — many of them from here in New York, a few of them who have come as distant as California, Boston. We got some folks from Jersey.

      I want to thank Joe Echevarria, who has been heading up our My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the private-sector component of what we’re doing. I’m going to have a lot more to say about that during my formal remarks. But if you have any doubt about the incredible promise and potential of America, then you need to get to know these young men, because they are examples of intelligence, hard work, empathy and compassion, some street smarts. And all these young men are going to do incredible things with their lives. Many of them are already doing incredible things with their lives.

      Part of what we wanted to do was to make sure we heard directly from young people who oftentimes are growing up in really tough situations — single-parent households, low-income communities, crime-infested areas. We’ve heard stories of some of these young men being stopped and put on the ground by police for no reason. Domestic abuse inside the household. Situations where the schools don’t seem to be invested in their success.

      And yet, despite all that, these young men are succeeding in some remarkable ways. And part of what I heard from them was that they’re succeeding because somewhere along the line they’ve received a mentor, somebody who’s just paying attention to them and giving them some sense of direction. Part of what we’ve heard is that they’ve had the opportunity in some way to participate in community service and to get involved, and had been able to show themselves that they matter and they count, and that they can make amazing things happen in their own communities.

      And what all of them suggested is, is that if we’re going to be successful in addressing some of the challenges that young men of color face around the country, that their voices have to be part of how we design programs and how we address these issues. Because they’ve got a lot to say, and what they say is powerful and makes a big difference.

      So I just want to say to all of them how proud I am of you, how grateful I am to you. I want to thank John Legend to participate. John has been doing a lot of work on his own time, not just around My Brother’s Keeper, but dealing with issues in the criminal justice system and incarcerations, and how we can steer how we interact with communities of color and low-income communities in a different direction. So we appreciate his leadership.

      I’m very excited about what we can get done, but the main reason I’m excited is because listening to all these young men I know that the future will be in good hands as long as we’re giving them the support and the love that they need.

      For more:

    • May 04, 2015

      Remarks by the President at Launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

      Lehman College
      West Bronx, New York

      2:56 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, New York! (Applause.) Give Darinel a big round of applause for that introduction. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. We are so proud of Darinel. We want to thank him for being such a great role model for other students here in New York and around the country.

      I want to give a shout-out to a friend of mine who happens to be your Assemblyman — Michael Blake. (Applause.) Where’s Michael? He is around here somewhere. There he is. You got to stand up, Michael. (Laughter.) We’re still teaching him about politics. (Applause.) When the President introduces you, you got to stand up. (Laughter.) Get some TV time. (Laughter.)

      So Mike grew up in tough circumstances, as well. He worked hard, went to a good college. He joined my campaign, worked in the White House. Now he’s in public office to make sure that other young people like him have every chance in the world. So we couldn’t be prouder of him. It’s great to see. (Applause.)

      So I’m getting practice for Malia and Sasha leaving home. I’ve got all these incredible young people who worked on the White House staff who are now doing all kinds of great things.

      I want to thank all the members of Congress and elected officials who are in the house. You’ve got a couple of proud Lehman graduates — Eliot Engel — where’s Eliot? (Applause.) There he is. And Jose Serrano. (Applause.) And we’ve got some more folks — we’ve got three other folks from the New York delegation — Gregory Meeks — (applause) — the always dapper Charlie Rangel — (applause) — the outstanding Yvette Clarke. (Applause.) And visiting from Florida — Frederica Wilson. (Applause.) But they all share the same passion that I do, and that is making sure every young person in this country has opportunity.

      That’s why we’re all here today. Because we believe in the idea that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you came from, no matter what your circumstances were, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, then America is a place where you can make something of your lives.

      For more:

  3. Obama to promote job creation in Wednesday’s St. Paul visit

    February 24, 2014 ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune

    President Obama is expected to announce a new competition encouraging investments to create jobs and restore “crumbling roads and bridges” when he speaks Wednesday at Union Depot in St. Paul, the White House said.

    Tickets to the event are free to the public and available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10 a.m. Monday at the Union Depot, Suite 120. Tickets are limited to one per person.

    The Union Depot recently returned to service as a 21st century regional hub for Metro Transit, Jefferson Lines, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority and Megabus, and will be home later this year to an Amtrak terminal. The depot was restored to its 1920s-era elegance through a $243 million renovation aided by $124.3 million in federal funding.

    Obama’s appearance is part of a series of events being planned by the White House this week tied to the economy, manufacturing and jobs. The president has called 2014 his “year of action.”

  4. Thanks, CR.

    This program should help with a major problems for inner city young people/young people of color throughout the country. Long over due. Thank you, Mr. President for leading the way. Isaac

    • Hi Isaac! Yes, thank you Mr. President for doing everything you can to help the middle class.

    • Champions of Change: African American History Month STEM Leaders

      Published on Feb 26, 2014

      The White House honors teachers, entrepreneurs, and leaders who are implementing programs and educational resources and breaking ground on new projects to introduce African American youth to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. February 26, 2014.

  5. New Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Rise to Five-Year High

    Feb 26, 2014 7:09 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Purchases of new U.S. homes unexpectedly climbed in January to the highest level in more than five years, showing underlying strength in the industry even in the midst of unusually harsh weather.

    Sales increased 9.6 percent to a 468,000 annualized pace, exceeding the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the most since July 2008, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Demand improved in three of four regions.

    Home remodeling companies such as Mohawk Industries Inc. (MHK) remain upbeat about the market’s prospects for 2014 as property values climb and the economy improves. Nonetheless, limited housing supply, rising borrowing costs and still-tight credit conditions are preventing the industry from making even bigger strides.

    “Overall, despite the weather, consumer confidence is holding in OK,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York, said before the report. “We’ll start to see home sales trend up again.”

    For more:

    • February 26, 2014

      Remarks by the President on Jobs in American Infrastructure

      Union Depot
      St. Paul, Minnesota

      2:40 P.M. CST

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, St. Paul! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Minnesota. (Applause.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!

      THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. That’s why I came here. Good to see you.

      Although, can I just say that when we got off the plane, Secretary Foxx, who is from North Carolina, turned to me and he said, this is the coldest I’ve ever been in my life. (Laughter.) Now, we were only out there for like a minute — (laughter) — which goes to show how soft these folks from North Carolina are when it comes to the weather. (Laughter and applause). I, on the other hand, am from Chicago — (applause) — I walked off those stairs and I was like, this is balmy, this is great. (Laughter.) February, in Minnesota — can’t beat it. Cannot beat it.

      Now, in addition to Secretary Foxx, who I want to — give him a big round of applause for that introduction. (Applause.) You’ve two champions for the people of Minnesota who are here today. You’ve got Representative Betty McCollum — (applause) — and Representative Keith Ellison. (Applause.) You’ve got your Mayor, Chris Coleman, in the house. (Applause.) The new Mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, is here. (Applause.) And my great friend, who actually told me I was running for President before I knew I was running for President — R.T. Rybak. Love that name. (Applause.) Where’s R.T.?

      Now, I want to thank everybody who showed me around Union Depot and gave me a preview of this new light rail line. It is fantastic. (Applause.) And I also just want to say — even though he’s not here today — I want to say to everybody how Michelle and I have been keeping in our thoughts and prayers one of the great Americans that we know, as well as a great Minnesotan — Walter Mondale. (Applause.)

      Now, like millions of Americans, I’ve spent some time with Minnesotans lately — because I was watching the Olympics. (Laughter.) Minnesota sent 19 athletes to the games. (Applause.) That’s tied for second most of any state, and they did us all proud. It is not shocking that Minnesotans might be pretty good at the Winter Olympics. (Laughter.) What is particularly interesting is that, once again, the tiny town of Warroad proved that it really is Hockeytown, USA, thanks to T.J. Oshie and Gigi Marvin, who we’re just so proud of. And T.J.’s shootout performance against the Russians I might say I enjoyed a lot. (Applause.) I tweeted at him about it.

      So we’ve spent some time over the last few weeks on hockey, but I’m not here to talk about hockey. By the way, I cannot play hockey. (Laughter.) I grew up in Hawaii — we do not have hockey in Hawaii. But I’m here to talk about what you’re doing in the Twin Cities, and how you’re helping to create new jobs and new opportunities for every American.

      We are at a moment when our economy is growing. Our businesses have created about 8.5 million new jobs in the past four years. Unemployment is at the lowest it’s been in over five years; in Minnesota, it’s lower than it’s been in six and a half years. (Applause.) And, by the way, you’ve got a great governor who I served with in the Senate, Mark Dayton, who is helping to make that happen. (Applause.)

      So in a lot of ways things are looking up. But in some ways, the trends that had been battering middle-class families for a long time have gotten even starker, because those at the top are doing better than ever, while wages and incomes for a lot of families have barely budged. And too many families are working harder than ever just to keep up. So as I said at the State of the Union address a few weeks back, our job is to reverse those trends. (Applause.) We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody. We’ve got to restore opportunity for all people, so that no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, you can get ahead if you work hard and you’re responsible.

      And so I laid out an opportunity agenda that has four parts. Number one, good jobs that pay good wages in manufacturing, in energy, in innovation and infrastructure. Number two, train folks with the skills they need to get those good jobs, something that your senator, Al Franken, is doing great work on every single day. He cares a lot about that job training issue. (Applause.) Number three, guaranteeing every child has access to a world-class education. (Applause.) And, number four, making sure that hard work is rewarded with wages you can live on, and savings you can retire on, and health care you can count on. That’s what we’re fighting for. (Applause.)

      For more:

    • February 26, 2014

      FACT SHEET: President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure

      On February 26th, the President will speak at the historic Union Depot train station in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he will launch a competition for $600 million in competitive transportation funding and outline his vision for investing in America’s infrastructure with a $302 billion, four year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The President will continue to act when he can to promote job growth in the transportation sector and put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems, and will also work with Congress to act to ensure critical transportation programs continue to be funded and do not expire later this year.

      Launching competition for $600 million in TIGER competitive grants to fund transformative transportation infrastructure projects. Since the President took office, America has made historic investments to improve our nation’s infrastructure –including the highly successful Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program that has invested $3.5 billion in 270 projects across the country. Today the President is announcing that the U.S. Department of Transportation is making available $600 million in TIGER competitive grants to fund transportation projects. The TIGER grant program, which was initially funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was recently funded in the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed by the President on January 17th, 2014.

      Proposing an aggressive four-year plan to modernize our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure. Despite progress over the last five years, there’s more work to do. Later this summer, the nation’s transportation system will be facing a funding crisis, which is why the President is committed to working with Congress, including Senators Boxer and Vitter and Representatives Shuster and Rahall, on a bipartisan solution. Today the President is outlining his vision for a comprehensive, long term plan that puts people back to work repairing our nation’s transportation infrastructure. The President will propose a four-year reauthorization of our surface transportation programs that will modernize our nation’s infrastructure and ensure the health and growth of these critical programs for the future while supporting millions of jobs.

      Proposing a pro-growth, bipartisan approach to financing the President’s surface transportation plan. The President’s Budget will outline his proposal to dedicate $150 billion in one-time transition revenue from pro-growth business tax reform to address the funding crisis facing our surface transportation programs and increase infrastructure investment. This amount is sufficient to not only fill the current funding gap in the Highway Trust Fund, but increase surface transportation investment over current projected levels by nearly $90 billion over the next four years. When taking into account existing funding for surface transportation, this plan will result in a total of $302 billion being invested over four years putting people back to work modernizing our transportation infrastructure. The President is putting forward this pro-growth financing plan to encourage bipartisan efforts to support a visionary infrastructure plan, but is open to all ideas for how to achieve this important objective, and will work closely with Members of Congress of both parties on a solution that will invest in more job creating transportation projects. The President is also looking forward to working with Congress on bipartisan ideas to attract more private investment, such as a national infrastructure bank or the recent infrastructure financing authority proposal from Senators Warner and Blunt.

      For more:


    Court rejects Texas’ ban on marriage equality

    2/26/14 03:00PM By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    Opponents of marriage equality have been on a losing streak that’s nothing short of brutal. A federal court struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage two weeks ago, which came on the heels of similar rulings in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah.

    But today, the trend reached the largest of the nation’s ruby-red states.
    A federal judge in San Antonio ruled Wednesday that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutionally deprives some citizens of due process and equal protection under the law by stigmatizing their relationships and treating them differently from opposite-sex couples.

    U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia cited recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings as having trumped Texas’ moves to ban gay marriage.

    The entirety of the ruling is online here. Garcia, a 20-year veteran of the federal bench, was first nominated by President Clinton.

    “Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” the judge wrote. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”

    Does this mean marriage equality has come to Texas? Not quite yet.

    Read more:

  7. WH

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    First Lady Michelle makes an announcement regarding proposals to help parents and other consumers make healthier choices.
    Washington, DC

    11:30 AM
    Vice President Biden drops by a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs
    Capital Hilton, Washington DC

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:30 PM
    President Obama meets with foundation and business leaders
    State Dining Room

    First Lady Michelle makes an announcement with a local child care facility.
    Bowie, MD

    3:00 PM
    3:25 PM
    President Obama announces a new initiative “My Brother’s Keeper” where the private sector works with young men of color to keep them on the tract of success
    The East Room

    4:00 PM
    4:35 PM
    President Obama meets with Vice President Biden and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
    Oval Office

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    7:15 PM
    Vice President Biden attends an event for the Democratic National Committee
    National Museum of Women in the Arts

    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  8. Confidence Improves as Americans Grow More Upbeat About Economy

    Feb 27, 2014 6:45 AM PT By Jeanna Smialek – bloomberg

    Consumer sentiment improved for a third straight week as Americans were more upbeat about the economy than at any time in the past six months.

    The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (COMFCOMF) climbed to a seven-week high of minus 28.6 in the period ended Feb. 23 from minus 30.6. A gauge of how respondents view the economy was the strongest since August, while measures of household finances and the buying climate also picked up.

    Stock prices hovering close to a record and higher property values are helping brighten attitudes about household finances and the economy. Further improvement in sentiment that translates into faster demand would set the stage for employers, who have been slowing the pace of dismissals, to boost headcount even more.

    “Greater job stability has resulted in a more solid financial footing for U.S. households and has bolstered consumer comfort,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.

    For more:

    • February 27, 2014

      Remarks by the First Lady on a Nutrition Facts Label Announcement

      East Room

      11:22 A.M. EST

      MRS. OBAMA: Good morning, everyone. It’s great to have you all here. Let me start by thanking Shanese for that very kind introduction and for her wonderful remarks. Let me just say, Shanese, when we heard in the back that you were a grandmother, everybody was like, really? She’s a grandmother? (Laughter.) We thought you were a teenager. (Laughter.) See what eating healthy does? (Laughter.) But it’s great to have you here. Thank you so much for working so hard to keep your family in shape and healthy. We’re very proud of you, very proud of you.

      I also want to thank Secretary Sebelius and Commissioner Hamburg for their outstanding leadership as well as your entire teams. It takes a whole lot of people to get all of this done. And we are grateful for you all, your leadership and for their efforts. Thank you so much for being here today. (Applause.)

      And we are also joined by one of my dear friends and a fabulous advocate, Rachael Ray. Rachael, where — Rachael! There you are. (Applause.) Rachael Ray, who has done so much great work for Let’s Move. Yes! Thank you, Rachael. We’re going to do something fun shortly, you ready?

      MS. RAY: Ready.

      MRS. OBAMA: All right, I’ll wear my flat shoes for you. (Laughter.) And of course, I want to thank all of you — the parents, the advocates, the industry leaders who worked so hard to make this day possible. Congratulations. This is a good day, it’s a great announcement.

      And back when we first launched Let’s Move four years ago, all of us here today were driven by a simple belief: that parents deserve to have the information they need to make healthy choices for their kids. And this isn’t a particularly radical idea; in fact, it seems pretty obvious. But the truth is that too often, it’s nearly impossible to get the most basic facts about the food we buy for our families.

      For more:

    • February 27, 2014

      The White House and FDA announce proposed updates to Nutrition Facts Label

      First Lady Michelle Obama and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announce proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label as part of an effort to help families make healthier choices

      Washington, DC – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg at the White House to announce proposed revisions to the Nutrition Facts label, which has been significantly updated only once since its initial release twenty years ago. The Nutrition Facts label is found on roughly 700,000 products. The updates announced today support the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative in its ongoing efforts to provide parents and families with access to information that helps them make healthier choices.

      “Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”

      The proposed updates are intended to reflect the latest scientific information about the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The proposed label would also replace out-of-date serving sizes to better align with the amount consumers actually eat, and it would feature a fresh design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.

      For more:

    • February 26, 2014

      Obesity Rates on the Decline Among Young Children

      New CDC study shows significant decline in prevalence of obesity over a sustained period of time

      Washington, DC – As the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative celebrates its fourth anniversary, we are seeing real progress. A new study out this week shows that the rates of childhood obesity are beginning to decline among children ages two to five. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing a forty-three percent drop in the obesity rate among children of preschool age over the past decade.

      “I couldn’t be more excited by the news that obesity rates for 2-5 year olds declined by 43% over the last 10 years. Progress of this magnitude can only be explained by the leadership and hard work we are seeing across this country,” Mrs. Obama said. “From parents to teachers, doctors to community leaders, everyone is stepping up to make small changes that are having a huge impact – and today, healthy habits are becoming the new norm for our kids. We have a long way to go, but I am more confident than ever that we can give all our children the bright, healthy futures they deserve.”

      This new report follows CDC’s findings from last summer, which showed that obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declined in 19 states and territories across the country.

      For more:

  9. Goods Orders Signal U.S. Manufacturers Springing Back: Economy

    Feb 27, 2014 8:10 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert – bloomberg

    Orders for U.S. durable goods excluding the volatile transportation category unexpectedly climbed in January by the most in eight months, a sign manufacturing is emerging from a slump induced by harsh weather.

    The 1.1 percent increase was the biggest gain since May and followed a 1.9 percent drop in December that was larger than previously estimated, according to Commerce Department data issued today in Washington. Other reports showed more Americans than expected filed claims for jobless benefits last week, and consumer confidence improved to a two-month high.

    Companies are regaining confidence growth will rebound as temperatures warm, leading to gains in investment and production that will further strengthen the expansion. The next step would be a rebound in hiring and a corresponding boost to consumer spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.

    “As the year progresses, we should see business investment along with hiring start to ramp up,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and the best forecaster of jobless claims for the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “There’s some pent-up demand.”

    For more:

  10. 2:30 PM ET
    First Lady Michelle makes an announcement with a local child care facility.
    Bowie, MD

    • February 27, 2014

      Remarks by the First Lady at Let’s Move! Child Care Event

      La Petite Academy
      Bowie, Maryland
      2:26 P.M. EST

      MRS. OBAMA: I came out here to take a picture with all of you — but because this daycare center that you guys get to go to is doing so good at making you guys healthy and making sure that you’re running around and staying active. Because one of the things we learn is that if you guys stay active — healthy, you’ll grow up to be healthy adults like all of our friends here. These are grown-up vegetables. (Laughter.) And they started out as little bitty vegetables just like you. And because they kept eating right and exercising, they grew up to be really big and strong. And that’s what Let’s Move is all about — it’s making sure that you guys grow up big and strong.

      And we just got some great statistics that show that the obesity rate among kids this age is declining. (Applause.) And it’s because of the work that you all are doing here. It’s this kind of work that is helping to get those results for kids across the country.

      So we wanted to come here and highlight the great work that you’re doing. We’re so proud of you guys. Give yourselves a big round of applause. (Applause.)

      2:28 P.M. EST

    • February 27, 2014

      First Lady Michelle Obama Applauds Learning Care Group’s Commitment to Creating Healthier Child Care Environments

      Major child care provider commits to implement nutrition and physical activity standards that align with Let’s Move! Child Care goals

      WASHINGTON, DC—Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joins the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and Learning Care Group to announce Learning Care Group’s commitment to providing a healthier environment at 900 schools across the country. Working with PHA and the Nemours Foundation, Learning Care Group will implement best practices that align with Let’s Move! Child Care goals in five areas: physical activity, screen time, food and beverages, infant feeding, and parent engagement.

      To highlight this announcement, the First Lady is visiting La Petite Academy in Bowie, Maryland, a member of the Learning Care Group family, where she will engage in physical activity and eat healthy snacks with children at the center. Last year, the CDC found that obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declined in 19 states and territories across the country, including Maryland, for the first time in decades.

      For more:

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