Amid the raw emotions and festering wounds of recent racial unrest, President Obama on Monday helped create a new organization to help him devote his remaining time in the White House as well as his post-presidency to bringing more opportunities to young Hispanic and African-American men trapped in poverty and hopelessness.
In an appearance in New York, shortly after news that a police officer shot in the face in Queens had died, Mr. Obama said the “cycles of periodic conflict” playing out in a series of American cities and towns like Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., underscored the need for a national effort to close the gaps between the races and end generations of grievance.
“That sense of unfairness, and of powerlessness, of people not hearing their voices, that’s helped fuel some of the protests that we’ve seen in places like Baltimore, and Ferguson and right here in New York,” Mr. Obama told an audience at Lehman College in the Bronx. “In too many places in this country,” he added, “black boys and black men, Latino boys and Latino men, they experience being treated differently by law enforcement.”
Mr. Obama went to the Bronx to attend an event announcing the creation of an independent nonprofit organization that is a spinoff of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative focusing on young minority men. The new nonprofit, staked by more than $80 million contributed largely by major American corporations, in effect will form the nucleus of Mr. Obama’s post-presidential life as he begins to think ahead to how he will use his time after January 2017.
“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason’s simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youth he had just met, he said, “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of the other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”