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In what is a recurring theme for him, President Barack Obama called on fathers to be more active in their children’s lives in a Father’s Day message released Saturday.

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“I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around. I felt the weight of his absence,” he said in the message delivered as his weekly address the day before the observance of Father’s Day. “So, for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young.  And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their children’s lives, because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to have a child—it’s the courage to raise one.”

“And while there’s nothing that can replace a parent, any of us can do our part to be a mentor, a sounding board, a role model for a kid who needs one,” he said. “Earlier this year, I launched an initiative called My Brother’s Keeper—an all-hands-on-deck effort to help more of our young men reach their full potential.

As previously reported by NewsOne, the Presidential Task Force for My Brother’s Keeper unveiled a report last month compiled by suggestions and input from a variety of community leaders, government officials, and other individuals.

The initiative has not been without its fair share of criticism.

Recently, 200 Black men directly petitioned President Obama to expand the program to address the hurdles and systemic inequality that Black women and girls face in the United States.

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