WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama honored Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy Monday by big-brothering members of the next generation.
Obama, his wife, Michelle, and daughter Malia traveled to a District of Columbia site for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington where they helped paint murals and assemble packets with flashcards and books to help the center’s young students improve their skills.
The family was joined by Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and city police officers who are regular volunteers at the club. Sasha Obama did not join her family.
Obama sat with a boy in a blue T-shirt and used a large marker to draw as they chatted. Reporters who spent a few minutes in the room observing couldn’t hear any part of Obama’s conversation with the boy. Mrs. Obama and Malia sat at separate tables with other children.
In a proclamation issued last week, Obama said the U.S. has made “undeniable progress” since King agitated for justice and equality for all. But Obama said securing the gains requires “constant vigilance, not complacency” and he called on all Americans to stand together for good jobs, fair wages, safe neighborhoods and quality education.
Much of Obama’s Cabinet fanned out across the country Monday to participate in community service projects and events in remembrance of the slain civil rights leader.
Speaking at a Delaware breakfast, Vice President Joe Biden said communities and police departments need to build relationships of trust. Biden devoted his remarks to tension between police and minorities in some communities after the deaths last summer of two unarmed black men in encounters with white officers in Missouri and New York City.