Photo by Tony Karumba/Getty Images.

The legacy of Barack Obama and Kenya will be forever intertwined.

The East African country is the birthplace of Obama's father and the source of a conspiracy theory about Obama's own birthplace that the president has had to spend way too much time refuting.

It's also a place where Obama is making a real impact.


On July 15, Obama stopped by Kogelo, where his sister-in-law Auma Obama opened Sauti Kuu — a youth sports and training center that aims to help children "become self-reliant mentally, socially, and financially."

Photo by Tony Karumba/Getty Images.

Back in 2015, Obama said that returning to Kenya after his presidency might actually be more effective, "because I can actually get outside of a hotel room or a conference center."

And he has a point.

Obama was able to mingle with several of the kids at the Sauti Kuu resource center. But he was also there to help the country heal after a tumultuous, contested election.

He's on a journey that carries a larger message of hope.

It's a big deal any time Obama visits Kenya. And while this visit was described as "low-key," he was also there doing some very important work.

Kenya has been divided over a contested 2017 election. The country's current President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga agreed in March 2018 to work together after months of political fighting.

Obama is meeting with both leaders during his visit to help facilitate a peaceful and lasting political solution.

Though Obama has been mostly quiet about the visit, Kenyatta posted about their visit on Twitter, adding several pictures of the two men meeting.

On July 18, Obama heads to South Africa to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth and to meet with 200 African children who are working with the Obama Foundation. Not bad for a low-key trip.

Obama is showing how quiet diplomacy is something we could use more of right now.

President Teddy Roosevelt once famously said of his approach to international diplomacy, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." What many may not know is Roosevelt actually cited the quote as a West African proverb that he picked up during his travels before becoming president.

In many ways, it also captures Obama's approach to exerting his influence in the world. Instead of lecturing the world, he's helping empower Kenya's youth and offering his support to healing the nation's political divide.

Right now, the world of politics seems to be dominated by those with the loudest voices. But Obama, time and again, shows that the power of diplomacy rooted in respect and trust can indeed help someone go far.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less