Today, we celebrate the 57th birthday of President Barack Obama. As the 44th President of the United States, he left an indelible imprint on our national and global history and inspired us all to lead with an audacity of hope.

As a mentor and father-figure, his mentorship and wisdom further deepened my commitment to be a lifelong public servant and progressive change agent in the movement. From the days of the Iowa Caucus where we proved that Yes We Can change the world, to traveling to Mississippi where the students changed the lyrics of negro spirituals to uplift Obama’s name, to going back to Michigan where we won all seven campaigns we supported, you inspired thousands of young organizers, such as me, to dream and realize big dreams.

In the face of continual adversity and challenges, President Obama gave me as a Black man in politics, hope to keep pressing forward to help our constituents in The Bronx. His work inspired me to engage millennials through the New Leaders Council and mobilize Americans to vote and be civically engaged.

From creating the Urban Entrepreneurship Summit series at The White House to changing the narrative by investing in Boys and Young Men of Color through the My Brother’s Keeper program in New York State, you empowered us to prove that public service can not just put food on the table and bring jobs to a community, but feed the soul and bring hope to a nation.

Let us celebrate his long-lasting legacy including the Affordable Care Act and historic funding for Minority and Women Business Enterprises, but also challenge ourselves to carry the mantle as the next generation of transformative leaders of today and tomorrow.

Thank you for being my mentor, my big brother and my inspiration. Happy Birthday Mr. President Barack Obama.

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Our 44th President Barack Obama and Assembly Member Blake following a White House briefing for state legislators