Thank you for writing. There is no denying that even with the significant progress we have made as a country over the past several decades, painful aspects of our Nation’s history continue to cast a long shadow with regard to race relations and our communities. Important work still lies ahead, and we all have roles to play.
Too many communities continue to battle chronic poverty, unemployment, isolation, and a basic lack of opportunity. These problems have consequences that reverberate through our society and the lives of individual families. It is up to each of us to lead in our communities and to ensure that all levels of government are working to revitalize our neighborhoods, improve our schools, and ensure that success in this country is only dependent on the dreams and will of our people, not the zip codes they are born into. By recognizing our common humanity and treating every person as important, we can make opportunity real for all Americans.
We started the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps and tear down barriers that too often prevent our young people, including boys and young men of color, from realizing their full potential. Additionally, my Task Force on 21st Century Policing put forward 59 concrete recommendations on how we can build better trust and respect between communities and law enforcement officers, and we are engaged with cities and towns across America to encourage them to put these proposals into practice. And we continue to fight to build a smarter, fairer, and more effective criminal justice system in our communities, courtrooms, and cell blocks.
Solving these problems will take sustained effort from all of us, and they won’t be fixed if we only pay attention when tragedy strikes. Change depends on our actions, our attitudes, and the things we teach our children every day. If each of us makes an effort—no matter how hard it may sometimes seem—consciences can be stirred, consensus can be built, and change can be realized.
Again, thank you for writing. There’s nothing our country can’t handle if we look squarely at the problem, and there is no greater form of patriotism than championing the belief that America is not yet finished and a brighter future lies ahead. I hope you will continue to commit both thought and action toward the solutions needed in your community.