(CNN) – In a moving and honest message Thursday, President Barack Obama challenged young minority men to make good choices.
"Part of our message in this initiative is 'no excuses'. Government and private sector and philanthropy and all the faith communities, we have the responsibility to provide you the tools you need," he said at a White House event.
"We need to help you knock down some of the barriers that you experience," he continued. "That's what we are here for but you have responsibilities too."
The message was part of his new initiative called "My Brother's Keeper," where leading foundations and businesses will donate at least $200 million over five years towards programs aimed at minority youth of color.
"This is as important as any issue that I work on. It's an issue that goes to the very heart of why I ran for President because if America stands for anything, it stands for the opportunity for everybody – the notion of no matter who you are or where you came from of the circumstances under which you were born – if you work hard, if you take responsibility then you can make it in this country," he said.
A video of an African-American toddler unleashing a barrage of profanity has gone viral in recent days after a Omaha, Nebraska police union posted it on their website . Their reasoning? The union claims it is an example of a continuing trend, which they call 'the thug cycle.'
An outcry ensued from the public, accusing the police union of being racist and perpetuating stereotypes of black men as criminals.
The face of the minor was not blurred and was originally posted on Facebook by a relative who found the child's profanity humorous.
We caught up with CNN's Don Lemon, who was OutFront on the 'thug cycle' story, and sparked a discussion about the word 'thug.'
OUTFRONT: Why was the story of Omaha 'Thug Cycle' video important to you?
LEMON: The story was important to me obviously because it’s so outrageous. That could have been me or my two great-nephews. One is just out of diapers. The other is a new born. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever treating them like that. I don’t know what I’d do to someone if they even tried. And they’re not even my children. Every child should have advocates. And the only way I know to advocate for that child and others like him is through my work. And that means doing the story and shining a light on it.