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Obama: ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ will benefit U.S. economy

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    President Barack Obama speaks during a break in taping of a student forum with Stan Verrett hosted by ESPN at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C.

GREENSBORO, N.C. >> Promoting his initiative for boys and young men of color, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that helping these males stay out of trouble and on the right path is an “American challenge” that will pay off for the U.S. economy in the long run.

Speaking about the “My Brother’s Keeper” program during an ESPN-hosted forum, Obama said the economy could grow about 2 percent faster if the U.S. closes documented achievement, wealth and employment gaps that often consign minorities to lives that are less stable and less financially secure.

He acknowledged that 2 percent “doesn’t seem like a lot” but said “it would mean trillions of dollars of additional wealth for everybody.”

Young people today are the workers, taxpayers and business customers of the future, Obama said, adding that everyone will benefit if they have money in their pockets, including “old heads” like himself who in the future will rely on them for Social Security checks.

“So if they’re unemployed or underemployed, if they’re in prison, that is bad for all of us, not just for them,” Obama said. “This is an American challenge.”

Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper” in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color. Some 250 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 19 tribal nations have their own “My Brother’s Keeper” programs, the White House said.

Before leaving Washington, the White House announced that Sprint Corp. will do its part to help close the digital divide by providing free tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices, along with four years of service, to 1 million low-income, high-school students who can’t get on the internet at home.

Obama also praised the value of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities during the forum, which was taped at North Carolina A&T State University, an HBCU with a highly regarded engineering program. The event was hosted by “The Undefeated,” an ESPN website that explores the intersection of race, sports and culture. ESPN broadcast the forum Tuesday night.

Obama pushed back against the notion that his administration has been insufficiently supportive of historically black colleges, which are under enormous financial pressure.

He called HBCUs a “foundation stone” for building the black middle class and black wealth, and said he had increased federal funding to them to $4 billion annually. Obama said these schools are facing difficult financial decisions, as are non-HBCUs, because states are cutting funding for higher education.

The president urged students worried about the cost of a college education to vote. “If you don’t vote, then you will not have any say in the decisions that are made in state capitals or in Congress about the kind of support that you receive,” he said. “You don’t have to be an engineering major to figure out the math on this one.”

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  • Well I’m waiting to hear from the Obama haters. Sprint company is contributing to a great cause and more corporations should do the same. A tax deduction?

  • For starters Barry, Take this LAME program of yours to Chicago where black lives DON’T seem to matter to the Black Community themselves and see if you can get 2% economic growth. Also, what is the definition of “of color”. You make small mention of “Puerto Rico and 19 tribal nations”, are we supposed to come to our own conclusion or definition of “tribal nation”? Because to the majority of the the American people “of color” refers to the black community ONLY. Not to mention that the back half of the article you seem to target just the Black Colleges, the Black middle Class and the Black Wealth. What of the other minority groups Barry? Are they left to fend for themselves. Seems a bit discriminatory, does it not? Now, back to the article, what the hell is “documented achievement”? More Politically Correct dribble for us to have to digest? And here we go again, “wealth and employment gaps consign minorities to be less stable and financially secure”. Could it be, Barry, that the less skilled end up making less. Maybe then if they took the time, and put in the effort to learn a SKILL, a trait, a profession then maybe they would BE more “financially secure”. Did you think of that? Maybe if they realized that if they worked hard( like the rest of us) that they won’t need any handouts from the government. Speaking of handouts, between ALL that jibber, comes the free stuff. Who DID NOT see that coming. Not to mention how they didn’t mention how much this “PLAN” will cost the HARD working American people. So, after all that, how are we supposed to imagine that after 7 years and 10 months into this clowns presidency that he can come up with this goofball of a plan that would create “Trillions of dollars of additional wealth for everybody”? This fake presidents term cannot end soon enough.

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