Black activists will continue Obama’s legacy under Trump

We met them at the White House

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Yesterday, the White House hosted its final My Brother’s Keeper event in which President Obama gave the closing remarks.

He vowed to continue the work he had been doing for young men of color during his presidency, and turn it into a lifelong endeavor of his.

My Brother’s Keeper was an initiative he created in 2014 to mentor and improve the lives of young men of color in the United States. Myself and my colleague Kami were present to watch Obama give one of the last speeches as President, discussing issues so closely connected to our community.

When we were shuffled into the room where Obama was speaking by one of the press wranglers, it was filled to the brim with black and brown faces. This sight is not unfamiliar to me, but what was striking was the amount of community influence that was present. People like former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and Michael Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Director of My Brother’s Keeper. These are people who have been fighting for people of color throughout the Obama presidency and can affect real change within communities of color going forward.

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Obama provided encouragement to everyone in the room to also continue the fight in their individual communities.

This is especially poignant considering many of those present believed they will no longer have a friend in the White House after January 20, 2017.

Some of the other journalists lamented that they were going to miss events like this as they did not believe they would continue under Trump’s administration. They are not wrong to believe this, given what the President-elect said about black communities during his campaign.

We are yet to see what a Trump presidency holds for communities of color, but I am reassured to know that from what I saw yesterday, we have people who are willing to fight like hell for them.

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Columbia University