From: Feldmann, Linda [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2015 03:26 PM
To: Allen, Jessica
Subject: Travel pool No. 8 - POTUS remarks at public MBK event
Joe Echevarria, Bronx native and head of the new My Brother's Keeper Alliance nonprofit, came out and said a few words. Then at 2:55, 19-year-old Darinel Montero, a student at Bronx International High School, came out and told his story. Raised by grandparents, wants to be a civil engineer, planning to go to college the fall.
He introduced Obama.
POTUS took the stage at 2:56 pm. Crowd is full of "stakeholders" and "business people," per WH official. Check quotes.
Obama talked about how his presidency is about "creating opportunity for everyone."
"Some have had the odds stacked against them." "It's true for people of color - especially boys and young men."
"Those opportunity gaps begin early, often at birth, and they compound over time."
That feeling of not being heard, that has fueled protests in Baltimore and elsewhere. ... that feeling that the law is not applied evenly in this country.
Talked about Task Force on Community Policing. Remarkable that law enforcement, working with young people, came up with proposals that if implemented will rebuild trust and help law enforcement do their jobs better.
What was clear from TF was that overwhelming majority of police officers are honest and fair.
References death of Brian Moore, NYPD, who passed away earlier today after being shot in the face over the weekend.
If we're just looking at policing, we're looking at it too narrowly. If we're asking police to contain and control problems we've been unwilling to solve, it's unfair to communities and unfair to police. What we're talking about today is something that goes deeper than policing.
Across the country and in parts of NY, NJ, chicago, there are communities without enough jobs, investment, opportunity. Communities with 30-40-50 percent unemployment.
"I'm not interested in blame, I'm interested in responsibility and results."
These kids are "just as talented as me, just as smart, they don't get a chance."
Re My Brother's Keeper; We were determined not to do just a feel-good exercise, do a report that nobody would read. .. We wanted something sustained.
More than 200 communities are focused on this issue, on board, doing good work, sharing best practices, sharing ideas. all in the last year.
POTUS announced $80 million in commitments to fulfill the goal of the MBK Alliance. The organizations represented here aren't doing it out of charity, such as Sprint and BET, aren't doing it to assuage society's guilt, they're doing it because it's an economic imperative. All these youth are part of our workforce. If America not operating at full capacity, that hurts all of us... It's about more than economics, it's about values.
Re guys at roundtable: "Their stories are our stories.... In these young men, we see ourselves." (speaking of himself and Joe Echevarria)
"we ask police to go into communities where there's no hope, eventually something happens... " "people tweet outrage, the TV cameras come, they focus more on somebody setting fire to something, somebody turning over a car, than the peaceful conversations that are taking place."
"Some say these social programs don't make a difference, cast blame, politicians talk about inequality then gut policies that alleviate inequaity... then we wait fo rthe next outbreak or problem to flare up, and we go thru the same problem all over again. So in effect, we do nothing. There are consequences to inaction."
"The good news it doesn't have to be this way, we can have the courage to change, we can make a difference." Quotes James Baldwin.
"This will be my mission not just for me and Michelle for the remainder of my presidency, but for the rest of my life."
Points out Alex Santos in crowd. He was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Brooklyn and Bronx, at age 11, saw his best friend shot and killed. So he didnt' see options for self. He dropped out. Then his mom went and got GED. Alex got GED. "actually it's more like she stayed on him till he went back." Wants to coach kids. Now believes he can go to college and be a role model for younger brothers.
"The simple point to make is you matter." POTUS said that at roundtable, he asked young men for advice. One young man, Malachi, said we should talk about love. We shared fact that our dad wasn't around, and sometimes we wondered hwat had happened. That's what this really comes down to is we love these kids. If we feel like becuase they don't look like us, they don't talk like us, or don't live in same neighborhood as us, they're different. they can't learn, or they don't deserve better, or it's OK if their schools are run down, or it's OK if the police are given a mission just to contain them. then it's not surprising we're gonna lose a lot of them. but tha'ts not the kind of country I want to live in. ... so my message to Alex and Malachi and darinel, and all the boys not in this room, who have not gottten the helping hand, I want you to know you matter, you matter to us, to each other, not a single thing more in mportant to future of America is whether you can achieve your dreams.
Decades of trauma we need to overcome. ... I'm going to keep on fighting. Today is just the beginning.
POTUS remarks finished at 3: pm.
Crowd Count: 180
Lt Brian Baiker
Some attendees, per a White House official:
Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children's Zone
Cong. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Melanie Campbell, Black Women's Roundtable
Cong. Jose Serrano (D-NY), Lehman graduate
The Rev. Al Sharpton
Cong. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
Michael Skolnik, Global Grind
Alonzo Mourning, former NBA star
Also sighted by pool:
Cong. Eliot Engel (D-NY), a graduate of Lehman College
Cong. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla), who is on the advisory council of the My Brother's Keeper Alliance and founder/co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus My Brother's Keeper Task Force
White House Correspondent
The Christian Science Monitor