‘Sense of powerlessness’ fueled riots-Obama
Prez pushes for more opportunities for youth
By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 4- President Obama came to Lehman College on Monday to promote the expansion of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and address the underlying issues that led to the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson.
My Brother’s Keeper is a grass roots mentoring program created to steer at risk youth into new opportunities. Among the goals of the program is to have children read at grade level by third grade. In addition, the president would also like to increase the graduation rate by 20 percent.
“An initiative to address the persistent opportunity gaps and ensure that all of our young people, particularly young men of color, have a chance to go as far as their dreams will take them,” said President Obama.
Citing the recent riots in Baltimore and earlier in Ferguson, Obama said the protests were given life by a “sense of unfairness and powerlessness” including a lack of opportunity.
“I was thrilled to welcome President Obama to The Bronx today. But I am even more excited to hear his words,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “The President’s stated commitment to the future of urban youth, especially young men of color in the United States, through the launch of his ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance,’ is worthy of considerable praise. I know firsthand the struggles young men of color face in this nation, and I know how challenging it can be to both lead one’s own life on the right path while also guiding others in that same direction. This initiative, which will combine public and private resources for the greater good, is welcome not only in The Bronx but across the United States.
“I am proud to have been present for today’s historic announcement, and I look forward to working with the ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’ to help young men of color get the help they need to succeed,” Diaz said.
Coming to the Bronx appears to be appropriate when talking about lack of opportunities considering the number of merchants that have gone out of business throughout the borough and replaced with “For Rent” signs. Last week the good economic news was that the Bronx was no longer the number one borough in terms of unemployment. In addition there are a growing number of homes going on the real estate market which join those that have been sitting unsold for two plus years.
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