As I walked along the White House grounds this week, I was reminded of how a black, progressive-thinking president can have such a profound impact on the lives of the nation’s black citizens just by showing up for a simple conversation.

It makes a difference because Obama is willing to look black boys straight in the eye and listen to their concerns; it makes a difference because Jarrett is in the room when issues about urban revitalization are being discussed; and it makes a difference because First Lady Michelle Obama hails from the South Side of Chicago and brings a black sensibility to the West Wing.

I’m not suggesting that one visit to Chicago will suddenly revive the black community overnight, but if the president can turn around just one life on Friday, then it’s well worth the trip. It’s also a good start to four more years in office and I’m hoping the president will spend even more time mentoring young black men during his tenure.

“These young men will have an opportunity to meet with the president of the United States and talk to him about the challenges they face in life and look to him as probably one of the best role models they will ever meet,” Jarrett said. “It’s a great opportunity for them and a great opportunity for the president.”

In the weeks ahead, as the president settles into his second term in the Oval Office, look for the White House to share more about its plans for uplifting black America with Obama leading the way.

(Photo: Courtesy of Michael Cottman)

President Obama Promotes New Plan For Black Neighborhoods, Mentor Young Black Men  was originally published on

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