Last night, as President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address, members of the Brothers Sons Selves Coalition watched together along with friends and family at a viewing party at Community Coalition, co-hosted by Liberty Hill. Viewers listened intently as President Obama mentioned a range issues from high unemployment to education reform.
A highlight for the young activists in the room came early on in the speech, when President Obama shared the story of Estiven Rodriguez, a young New Yorker who was able to learn English and excel in a supportive school system. Then, the Chief Executive announced that among the actions he’s taking to move America forward this year is how he’s “reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on tract and reach their full potential.”
This statement shows that the President has made a new White House initiative to reform school discipline announced earlier in January a priority of the coming year. As described in our blog post Race and Reality, President Obama’s remarks pay homage to the work of the Brothers Sons Selves successful “School Climate Bill of Rights” campaign that have made Los Angeles and Long Beach national models for ways to improve school climate for boys and young men of color.
At the viewing party, Timothy Walker, an 11th grade Crenshaw High School student and member of the Brothers Sons Selves Coalition, said that he was surprised and excited by the President’s mention of the issues that affect him.
“If Obama mentions it, then everyone will see it as an issue,” Timothy said.
When you think of all the problems facing the country, it’s so great to win a shout-out in the State of the Union Address. This comes after several years of work by the community organizers and youth organizers of Brothers Sons Selves, and will undoubtedly help propel our efforts forward so that every young man of color will be seen as an integral asset to this nation’s success.
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