Shiprock High School graduate Justin Begay participated in a town hall meeting on Monday, July 21 with President Barack Obama, who announced new commitments in support of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative aimed at providing opportunities for young men of color. Begay was accompanied by his father Ned Begay and will attend Stanford University this fall.
Saying, “America will not succeed unless you succeed,” President Obama announced new commitments including a five-year mentorship program launched by the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association. The partnership will call for 25,000 mentors to connect with men of color. AT&T announced an $18 million commitment earlier this year to support mentoring and other education programs with a mentoring component as part of the company’s $350 million Aspire initiative—focused on high school success and workforce readiness for students at risk of dropping out of school.
The president touted his recent trip to Indian country and his meeting with young Native men and women when asked about what he would do to preserve Native languages and culture. The president encouraged Native people to learn math, science and engineering and connect it back to Native culture.
Also in attendance at the event were leaders from 60-plus school districts across the country with the Council of the Great City Schools, parents, business leaders, athletes, mayors and lawmakers.
“The Shelly-Jim administration is pleased to have a Navajo youth at this town hall meeting with President Obama. We thank the president and his administration for launching this effort five months ago to bring opportunities to our youth,” said Navajo President Ben Shelly.