Obama: Urban Mentoring Will Be My Life's Mission

'Opportunity gaps' lead to unfairness, unrest, he says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2015 12:04 AM CDT
President Obama gestures as he speaks at Lehman College in the Bronx yesterday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – President Obama launched a new phase of his My Brother's Keeper initiative to aid and mentor disadvantaged minority youth yesterday, promising to make it a mission not just for the rest of his presidency, but for the rest of his life. "We see ourselves in these young men," he said, blaming inner-city unrest on "opportunity gaps" in communities short of jobs, investment, and "fathers who can provide guidance to young men," CNN reports. "I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path," but at critical points, he said, "I had some people who cared enough about me to give me a second chance or a third chance or give me a little guidance when I needed it."

"It's not enough to celebrate the ideals that we're built on, liberty and justice and equality for all. Those just can't be words on paper," Obama said at an event in the Bronx unveiling a new non-profit foundation linked to the initiative. "The work of every generation is to make those words mean something, concrete in the lives of our children," he said. "And we won't get there as long as kids in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York or Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or the Pine Ridge Reservation believe that their lives are somehow worthless." He said just looking at policing is viewing the problem too narrowly, because the tension exists between society and these communities and "police are just on the front lines of that," Politico reports.

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