NORWOODNEWSVol. 27, No. 8 PUBLISHED BY MOSHOLU PRESERVATION CORPORATION April 17–30, 2014Vol 28, No 10 • Published By...
10 • May 14-27, 2015 • Norwood News10 • May 14-27, 2015 • Norwood News
a path to success. Its initiatives’ rel-
evance to ...
May 14-27, 2015 • Norwood News • 11
Well, one issue that I would raise is
the child support system that has
caused a lot o...
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President Obama Comes to the Bronx

Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - President Obama Comes to the Bronx

  • 1. FREE NORWOODNEWSVol. 27, No. 8 PUBLISHED BY MOSHOLU PRESERVATION CORPORATION April 17–30, 2014Vol 28, No 10 • Published By Mosholu Preservation Corporation • May 14-27, 2015 FREE Proudly Serving Bronx Communities Since 1988 pg. 18 Out&About Forum to Highlight Dangers of K2 pg 7 Community Activist Remembered | pg 8 PRESIDENT OBAMA COMES TO THE BRONXVisits Lehman College to push new nonprofit for young minority men Photo by Adi Talwar PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, at Lehman College, announces the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. It’s his first visit to the Bronx, home to the country’s poorest congressional district. By DAVID CRUZ Back in April, residents on a portion of Valentine Av- enue were reeling over the death of 17-year-old Hakeem Kuta, who plunged to his death after fleeing cops who allegedly caught him smok- ing pot in a building. Neigh- bors in the Bedford Park area had asked how a small- time crime could escalate to a death. A month before, 18-year- old Jonathan Martinez was gunned down in the same neighborhood. Police deter- mined it was a gang-related shooting. Three people, in- cluding a 16-year-old His- panic boy, would be charged with second degree murder. These two victims were young minority men, whose deaths underscored the time- liness to President Barack Obama’s first-ever visit to the Bronx on May 4. It would likely be his only visit as a sitting U.S. President, with Lehman College serving as the stage to promote My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a nonprofit initiative aimed at setting minority men on (continued on page 10)
  • 2. 10 • May 14-27, 2015 • Norwood News10 • May 14-27, 2015 • Norwood News a path to success. Its initiatives’ rel- evance to the Bronx is certainly tan- gible, given the borough’s low high school graduation rate among black and Hispanic men, and an incarcer- ation rate among blacks that is six times that of whites, according to the Pew Research Institute. MBKA is an offshoot of a White House’s initiative of the same name, which began in February 2014. Jo- seph Echevarria, a Soundview na- tive, was appointed interim CEO of the nonprofit. Tethering the Bronx to the White House was Elias Alcantra, a Bronx native, Lehman College grad and director of intergovernmental relations for the White House, who helped make the visit happen. For a half hour, Mr. Obama touted the nonprofit’s national goal, which would be funded through private donations. “In every community in America, there are young people with incredible drive and talent, and they just don’t have the same kinds of chances that somebody like me had,” said Mr. Obama, delivering re- marks at the campus’s music build- ing. “They’re just as talented, just as smart. They don’t get a chance.” The White House version of MBKA served as a national mentor- ing program for black and Hispanic men, bringing in donations total- ing $300 million. A total of $80 mil- lion has been committed to sustain the newly created program, largely from corporate sponsors, includ- ing PepsiCo and Sprint. Advisory board members include retired NBA player Alonzo Mourning and singer/ songwriter John Legend. The initiative was well received by local officials, several of whom were present at  the event. Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., a legisla- tor with a Puerto Rican background, was among the guests present for Mr. Obama’s speech, sitting near Assem- bly Speaker Carl Heastie and Rev. Al Sharpton. Diaz chatted with Mr. Obama moments after the speech. “I know firsthand the struggles young men of color face in this na- tion, and I know how challenging it can be to both lead one’s own life on the right path while also guiding others in that same direction,” said Diaz in a statement. “This initiative, which will combine public and pri- vate resources for the greater good, is welcome not only in the Bronx but across the United States.” The tone taken by Mr. Obama ap- peared more acutely personal, evok- ing  a bold stance on the personal struggles of minority men plunging into a hole of disparity, which he ar- gued could start at birth. The first black U.S. President, Mr. Obama has waged a campaign to level the play- ing field for minority men, who often feel left out. “That sense of unfair- ness and of powerlessness of peo- ple not hearing their voices, that’s helped fuel some of the protests that we’ve seen in places like Baltimore and Ferguson and right here in New York,” said Mr. Obama. Mr.Obama’sparticipationseemed President Obama Comes to the Bronx Photos by Adi Talwar A LARGE AUDIENCE packs Lehman College to hear President Barack Obama’s ad- dress on My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. (continued from page 1)
  • 3. May 14-27, 2015 • Norwood News • 11 Well, one issue that I would raise is the child support system that has caused a lot of people to be in a really precarious position, because if you have outstanding child support it oppresses you. You can’t make any moves, you lose your license, and you can’t work. It’s something that hinders you from progressing. That’s one thing that I would really like someone to address. That is one personal issue that should be addressed by someone. Lincoln Lewis The crime rate in the Bronx because there’s a lot of schools around here. Since he’s here in the Bronx, I would think he should pay a little attention to the little details that are going on around here. Stephanie Ramnauth INQUIRING PHOTOGRAPHER By DAVID GREENE I would say President Barack Obama: How are you handling the senior citizens of New York City? What can you do to help a senior citizen find a job? It is very hard for senior citizen that’s been retired and been out of work for more than two years to find a job that someone will give you a chance. I was a professional for 36 years. I worked in collections of major accounts that if you don’t pay your bills, I was there to help you. So it was a simple job, but it’s been very hard for me personally to find a job as a senior citizen. Social Security doesn’t make it. You have to have more than Social Security and your pension and your 401(k). Shirley Lalande h yes, crime is a problem here and he should be aware of it. There’s too much crime here. Every day on the news you hear something else. I don’t go out at night. If I go out at night, it’s to Lehman College, maybe with a friend. But without a friend I won’t go because of the crime. Crime keeps me home, I don’t go out much anymore. Carol Teig Iwould ask the President where are all the federal dollars that are earmarked to fix the streets, the potholes and the cracks on the sidewalks. I would ask him about the MTA. The train stations are falling apart, they’re dirty and they smell and they keep raising the fare. Robert Cruz With President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the Bronx, we asked readers what issues they would raise with the President if they had one minute with him. Editor’s Note: Have an idea for an Inquiring Photographer question? Send suggestions to to offer a glimpse into his future. In his speech, he noted that he plans on being fully committed to MBKA once he leaves office. Until then, he will have no role in the Alliance nor how donations are screened, a measure that avoids any conflicts of interest. Presidential visits to the Bronx are rare. Indeed, the last Bronx visit by a sitting U.S. President happened on Oct. 30, 2001, after then President George W. Bush threw the first pitch in Yankee Stadium during Game 3 of the World Series. It was a rare visit by a U.S. President, whose attentions are often focused on states where party loyalty can be skittish. Unlike Mr. Bush’s visit, which served as a sym- bol to America’s vitality following the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Obama’s visit under- scored a racial discrepancy that’s ex- perienced throughout communities in the Bronx. Mr. Obama’s appearance in the Bronx was confined to Lehman Col- lege, sidestepping visits across the bor- ough that’s home to the 15th Congres- sional District, deemed the country’s most impoverished. The White House did not respond to emails requesting why Mr. Obama did not extend his visit beyond Lehman College. Still, the President and MBKA Board members met with several Leh- man College students at a closed-door meeting. There, a type of straight talk took shape, with members sitting at a round table to espouse the benefits of succeeding. “You matter,” Mr. Obama told the crowd of young men, including members from Lehman College’s Ur- ban Male Leadership program, which offers support programming to minor- ity students to help balance their lives. Daniel Rodriguez, 19, a Lehman Col- lege student and member of the group, told the Norwood News that the path- way to success is education, a tactic Mr. Obama has constantly promoted. “You can’t get very far without ed- ucation, without at least a bachelor’s nowadays, and pretty soon you’re not going to get anywhere without a Mas- ter’s,” said Rodriguez, who lives in Marble Hill Houses, a housing project. A mile from the school, a group of black teens huddled at a street corner on 197th Street and Valen- tine Avenue, a low-income section of Bedford Park. Some heard of Mr. Obama’s trip from the clamor of Marine One landing at Harris Field near Lehman College. Upon hearing Mr. Obama’s message on MBKA, one 19-year-old black man, who asked not to be identified, sim- ply said, “Nobody is aspiring in this place right now.” Photo courtesy Office of Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. PRESIDENT OBAMA CHATS with Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. following his remarks at Lehman College.

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