President Obama speaking at My Brother’s Keeper townhall. Center for Native American Youth’s Champions for Change in background. PHOTO Courtesy of Center for Native American Youth
By Raina Thiele
WASHINGTON – On Monday, 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.
Vance Home Gun, Confederated Tribes of Salish & Kootnai, asks President Obama about his commitment to Native youth.
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.”
The President also announced that Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria will launch the National Convening Council (NCC), an independent private-sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth and nonprofit communities to combine their efforts to have a positive impact on boys and young men of color.
“My Brother’s Keeper isn’t some new, big government program. It’s actually a team effort,” said President Obama. “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.”
Raina Thiele is Associate Director in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.