Barack Obama’s half-brother talks about his charitable foundation, why he voted for Trump

ST. GEORGE Malik Obama, the half brother of former U.S. President Barack Obama, came to St. George to visit a longtime friend and promote his organization, the Barack H. Obama Foundation.

He also appeared on the St. George-based Kate Dalley Show where he spoke about his half brother and his support of President Donald Trump.

The Barack H. Obama Foundation

Though he had come to St. George to meet with a longtime friend he had only known through long-distance correspondence until meeting him in person for the first time Tuesday night, Malik Obama also met with St. George News to share some details about his foundation.

Created in 2008, the foundation is named for Malik Obama and the former president’s late father who was an economist and a part of Kenya’s Ministry of Finance for a time. The foundation is a charitable nonprofit with offices in Virginia and Kenya that focuses on empowering individuals through economic development humanitarian projects.

The Chicago-based Obama Foundation is not connected to the Barack H. Obama Foundation.

“I have no reservations in setting up a foundation in memory of my father,” Malik Obama said. “I know there may be some confusion between this organization and the Obama organization in Chicago. But I would like to remind everybody there is Obama, our father, and there is Obama II. I think each and everyone one of us must follow their dream and my dream is to carry on my father’s dreams, and that’s why this organization was set up.”

Malik Obama (center), former U.S. Presdient Barack Obama’s half-brother, sits with members of the Barack H. Obama Foundation as they speak with St. George News about the foundation’s purpose and goals, St. George, Utah, April 23, 2019 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

A central theme of the foundation’s work and Malik Obama’s own physiology is focused on providing others with the means to pursue economic empowerment, as he believes once a person has the means to better themselves, they better society in turn.

“My belief is economic empowerment is the true path to peace,” he said. “Without money you can’t really take care of yourself, and when you can’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anybody else.”

Currently, the foundation has focused that goal on its “Global Women Empowerment and Girls Education” initiative.

“Women need to helped and empowered even more than they are right now,” Obama said. “They face a lot of challenges, not only in Africa, but also in the United States.

Through the process micro-financing and table banking provided through the Barack H. Obama Foundation, Kenyan women are able to engage in economic pursuits, be they entrepreneurship or education. The goal is to help the women become self-sufficient.

Women are the backbone of the community,” Obama said.

The foundation also provides means for girls to pursue education where they may not otherwise have the opportunity.

The foundation’s work also focuses on building infrastructure and supplying power to the rural parts of Kenya. That includes building bridges and roads, which Malik Obama called “the engines of commerce,” and explorations into establishing solar and wind-generated power for rural communities.

The Barack H. Obama Foundation also focuses on areas of education, health care, youth development and culture, and environmental conservation.

Of course, the foundation can only do as much as its funding allows.

There are several things we do that we do with your support,” Obama said. “We are appealing and hope the beautiful people of Utah and especially St. George will support us and provide us with the resources we need.”

Those wishing to learn more about the Barack H. Obama Foundation and to donate can do so at the foundation’s website.

A PDF document the foundation and its efforts in more detail can be found here.

In this June 24, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama responds to a heckler as he speaks during a reception to celebrate LGBT Pride Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington. | Associated Press photo by Evan Vucci, St. George News

Obama drew notoriety during the 2016 presidential election when he publicly stated his support for Trump over Hillary Clinton. This and other issues have led to Malik and Barack Obama developing a rather distant relationship.

While on the Kate Dalley Show Wednesday in the Canyon Media studios, Malik Obama said he was very happy for his brother when he was elected in 2008. As time passed, however, he wasn’t as supportive as he originally was.

“I didn’t think he was really doing what I think he could do,” he said, yet adding he kept his true sentiments quiet until his brother’s time as president drew to a close.

Speaking of his own background, Obama said he came to the United States in 1985 and fell in with the Malcolm X and “black revolutionary” crowd of the day and become a member of the Democratic Party. He said he “mellowed with age.”

“There came a point where I had to find an alternative.”

Barack Obama has also mellowed with age, Malik Obama said.

Still, when it came to his brother’s own views and political beliefs, he said, “Barack took off and went into outer space.”

Malik Obama is a member of the Republican Party and said the first time he voted was in 2016, and that vote went to Trump.

“(Trump’s) good for the country,” he said. “He’s a businessman. He’s focused and he’s going to run the country like he’s been running his organizations, and he’s a successful man. I’d rather give someone who’s successful a chance to lead over someone who’s just trying it out.

“I’m not shy about my support because I am independent and make up my own mind.”

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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