“We can all be replacement parents, we can all be older brothers.”

Former President Barack Obama spoke to thousands of people Tuesday at the meeting of my brother’s National Alliance of Preservators (MBK) in the heart of Oakland, California. The meeting marked the fifth anniversary of the existence of the program, which was founded in 2014 under Obama’s presidency.

Initiated by President Obama following the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, the initiative originally sought to provide more support to young people seeking to address gaps in opportunities through support networks, mentoring, internships or work experience.

During the two-day event of the week, sponsored by the Obama Foundation, speakers, from activist Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martins mother to Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, spoke on stage to discuss the importance of community, fraternity and the realities of race relations in the United States.

Obama said that since the founding of MBK, more than 250 MBK communities have developed and exist as part of the movement in the United States. Recently, the foundation announced donations of $ 5 million to organizations supporting the MBK mission across the country.

The investment is no surprise. Obama has indicated from the start that the Foundation will focus its support on the work of the local community rather than relying on federal support.

“I lost my job, so I had less impact on federal programs,” he began, making everyone laugh. “But we still have community programs and I said we stay alive [MBK] Thanks to the excellent work of local communities, this investment spirit has continued and flourished with children and young people with color.”

Every child needs a mentor

A recurrent theme that many participants expressed was the constant need for mentoring for young people, both inside and outside the school.

“I was lucky enough to have a strong role model in my life: my father,” said Stephen Curry, guard of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. “When I was young, it was my constant presence that gave me more confidence in how I behaved in the classroom at home.”

But it’s never too late to get support, as singer John Legend has made clear, even when imprisoned. “I have family members who have updated themselves in the system,” the singer said while presenting a panel. “We are the world’s most imprisoned population, representing 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the prison world.”

To help these men in jail, Legend has invested in Unlocked Futures, a 16-month accelerator for those who are currently or previously detained and who are interested in starting businesses.


Invest in technical schools and cultural awareness

Several panelists also emphasized the importance of continued investment in educational organizations that can lead to job creation and identity development.

Georgia Congresswoman Lucia Kay McBath and mother of Jordan Davis, a seventeen-year-old high school student who was killed, spoke in particular about the need to invest in technical facilities, not just colleges and universities. It’s “a matter of economy,” he said

“At some point, Jordan was not sure he wanted to go to college, so it’s important that we invest in our technical institutions and business schools, it’s a matter of economy, and if someone decides to become a merchant, that man keeps the economy strong. … we should always consider these things. “

The founder of the NACA Inspired Schools Network, Kara Bobroff, resurfaced this topic, saying that one of her key goals was to ensure that all youth in indigenous communities are ready for college and beyond, but she also added that Importance of educating students about their stories and experiences. Communities

“My hope for you,” he told the crowd of young people of color, “is that you remain rooted, anchored in your language and culture, and have a positive impact on your community.”


A call to action

Although many of the panels talked about the future of MBK, several speakers took the opportunity to share their hopes for all the young people in the room, including Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan, who invited his fans to share the technology and technology see art as a way to change stories and gain power. “Technology allows you to go out, to be a narrator, to shoot a short film,” he said. “You can create, you have all the tools you need to create.”

But he was not the only one who gave a call to action in the room.

Fulton then said to the crowd and turned his head from one side of the room to the other: “Although Trayvon is not here, I want [all] for you, I want them to be leaders, no followers, you have everything you need to succeed, get up, take your place, you stand on our shoulders and we are here for you. “