President Obama is “proud” of the work he's done to address the issues of racial disparity and justice in the United States over the last seven years, and hopes that his successor will do the same.
The lame duck president made the announcement during an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, telling the “Nightly News” anchor:
"I am very proud that my presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize America on behalf of issues of racial disparity and racial injustice.
But I do so hoping that my successor, who's not African-American — if he or she is not — that they'll be just as concerned as I am. Because this is part of what it means to perfect our union."
Early in the day, Obama visited an addiction recovery house in Newark, NJ, in order to draw attention to his criminal justice reform proposals.
CNN reported that the President met with a former inmate and staff at the facility before heading to nearby Rutgers University to participate at a prisoner re-entry program.
"Nobody is more invested than I am ... in continuing the trend toward reduced crime...
What we see is disparities in how white, Black, Hispanic suspects are treated. Higher arrest rates, tougher sentencing, longer sentences. Where it's happening you can't always isolate within the system - there may be subtle biases within the system ... but we know they're happening."
The White House also announced plans on Monday to further promote rehabilitation and reintegration for non-violent criminals into society, including $8 million in educational grants from the Department of Education and tech training and jobs for individuals with a criminal record.