Rep. John Lewis Applauds My Brothers Keeper Initiative
Yesterday Rep. John Lewis attended a ceremony at the White House where President Barack Obama introduced his new initiative, My Brother's Keeper, a White House program serving young African American men and boys. Rep. Lewis made these comments:
"I don't think there is any person in America who could have a stronger influence on the lives of African American men and boys than President Barack Obama. His very presence in the White House demonstrates the power of possibility to young men who may never have dreamed they had any chance to make it at all. I am very glad that the President decided to use his power to make a difference in the lives of these young men.
"Of course President Obama serves all of America, but just as a national program can affect individual communities, focused, effective work in one community can have a national impact. We are one people, one family, the human family, and what serves one person helps us all. Plus the statistics are alarming and suggest there is an emergency that no responsible public figure should ignore.
"86 percent of African American boys read below grade level by the time they reach the 4th grade. They are six times more likely to be victims of gun violence than white boys. In the state of Georgia only 49 percent of African American boys graduate from high school, compared to 65 percent of white boys. These problems make them more vulnerable to get into the kind of trouble that is hard to get out of.
"If someone had not reached out to me, in my case it was Dr. King, I don't know where I would be today. One man like President Obama can make a significant difference in this lives of these young men, and I applaud the president for throwing them a lifeline, to let them know someone they admire and respect wants to help them succeed."