Blog Posts Related to the African American Community

  • Why the Affordable Care Act Matters to African-Americans

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on BET.com. See the original post here.

    When Astrid Muhammad heard her phone ring this past Friday, the last thing she expected was a call from the White House inviting her to attend this year’s State of the Union as a guest of the First Lady.

    A wife and mother of two young children, Muhammad woke up on a spring morning in 2013 and knew something was wrong. A visit to the doctor in May revealed a mass growing on her brain. At the time she didn’t have health insurance and delayed treatment and surgery that, according to neurosurgeons, would mean the difference between life and death. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could have refused treatment for her pre-existing tumor, charge higher rates or denied her coverage altogether. But, after discovering the Health Insurance Marketplace, Muhammad was able to find quality affordable health insurance coverage. So this past summer, she had her tumor successfully removed and is now moving on with her life.

    And she is not alone. She attended the President’s State of the Union address as a representative of all those who have received insurance and care which has changed or saved their lives, or given them the peace of mind they need to rest more easily, without the worry that an unexpected health challenge could threaten their lives or livelihoods.

    During this African-American Community Week of Action, leaders, communities and families across the country are working together to ensure that all of their loved ones, neighbors and fellow Americans have the health insurance they need – and that those who are not covered visit HealthCare.gov to get covered right away.

  • President Obama Reflects on Dr. King's Legacy and Honors It with Service

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    Honoring the life of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Obama issued a proclamation commemorating the federal holiday marking Dr. King's birthday, and encouraged all Americans to honor his legacy through their own service.

  • President Obama Creates the Task Force on 21st Century Policing

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    Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.

    In light of the recent events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, and around the country, the Administration announced new steps to strengthen the relationships between local police and the communities they are supposed to protect and serve. One of the primary actions was the creation of a task force to improve community policing.

    This afternoon, President Obama signed an Executive Order to create the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and announced the members of the new task force.

  • In Memphis, Attorney General Holder Talks About Building Trust Between Communities and Law Enforcement

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    Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to Memphis and held a roundtable discussion on improving the relationship between the city's people of color and local law enforcement.

    In the wake of the recent police-involved deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and others, the President has called for an increased effort to help rebuild communities' trust in local law enforcement and the justice system. In that vein, the Attorney General will be holding similar discussions in a number of other cities across the country.

  • Following Through After Ferguson

    Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder sent the following message to the White House email list, giving an update on the Administration's next steps following the events in Ferguson, Missouri.

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    Following Michael Brown's tragic death, millions of people across the nation and around the world have focused their attention on unfolding events in Ferguson, both grieving together and making their voices heard.

    In recent days, many have been captivated by ongoing developments, anguished emotions, peaceful protests -- and, too often, deeply unfortunate images of unnecessary destruction. And this tragic incident has sparked a necessary, national conversation about the need to ensure trust and build strong relationships between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve.

    Events in Ferguson have revealed a deep distrust between a community and its police force. But this reality is not limited to one location. Other communities around this country know this struggle all too well. And it's abundantly clear that every single one of us has a role to play in tackling this problem together, as a nation -- to identify those things that bind us, and to be honest with one another about the things that continue to divide us.

    In August, President Obama ordered a review of federal funding and programs that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. On Monday, the Administration released that review's findings -- and announced key next steps to strengthen the trust in and effectiveness of the policing of our communities.

    Learn more about Monday's announcements, and the findings of the Administration's review.

    Here are the next steps we're taking:

    1. Creating a new task force to promote the expansion of 21st century community-oriented policing.
    2. Reforming how the federal government equips local law enforcement, particularly with military-style equipment.
    3. Advancing the use of body-worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives.

  • "It's Not Just a Ferguson Problem, It's an American Problem" -- Improving Community Policing

    Yesterday, the President announced that he will take a number of steps to strengthen community policing and fortify the trust that must exist between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. As part of this, he proposed a new three-year, $263 million Community Policing Initiative investment package that will increase use of body worn cameras (BWCs) by law enforcement, expand training for law enforcement agencies (LEAs), add more resources for police department reform, and multiply the number of cities where the Department of Justice (DOJ) facilitates community and local LEA engagement.

    The new initiative expands programs within the President’s FY 2015 Budget, and builds on them by adding more resources to help integrate the federal government with state and local LEAs to build and sustain trust between communities and those who serve and protect these communities.

    The funding would support the following activities: