Blog Posts Related to the African American Community

  • 1.5 Million African Americans to be Impacted if Congress Fails to Act

    Yesterday, the President delivered remarks at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and continued his call for Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. 

    If Congress doesn’t act, interest rates will double on July 1 for more than 7.4 million students with subsidized federal Stafford Loans. Approximately 1.5 million African American borrowers would see their loans increase. To out-educate our global competitors and make college more affordable, Congress needs to stop the interest rate on these student loans from doubling.

    This announcement is one of a series of steps that the Administration has taken to make college more affordable and to make it even easier for students to repay their federal student loans. The Obama Administration’s “Pay as You Earn” plan enables 1.6 million current students to take advantage of a new option to cap student loan repayments at 10% of monthly income when they start repayment, as soon as this year. Graduates currently in repayment can cap their payments at 15% of income right away.  Borrowers looking to determine whether or not income-based repayment is the right option for them should visit

    Now, President Obama is calling on Congress to put forward legislation to stop interest rates from doubling. For the estimated 1.5 million African American borrowers it would mean an estimated average savings per borrower of  $1,003 over the life of the loan and an estimated total savings of $1.5 billion. Keeping interest rates on student loans low would allow more Americans to get: a fair shot at an affordable college education, the skills they need to find a good job, and a clear path to the middle class.

    And, the President is asking all borrowers to help make sure Congress acts, saying:

    … I’m asking everyone else who’s watching or following online -- call your member of Congress. Email them. Write on their Facebook page. Tweet them -- we’ve got a hashtag. Here’s the hashtag for you to tweet them:  #dontdoublemyrate. All right?  I’m going to repeat that -- the hashtag is #dontdoublemyrate.  

    ... Your voice matters. Stand up. Be heard. Be counted. Tell them now is not the time to double the interest rate on your student loans. Now is the time to double down on smart investments that build a strong and secure middle class. Now is the time to double down on an America that’s built to last. 

    Read more about President Obama's proposals to keep college affordable for students and their families.

  • Deputy U.S. Commerce Secretary Keynotes Operation HOPE 20th Anniversary Bus Tour

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from The Commerce Department Blog 

    Today, Deputy U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank delivered the keynote address at the Operation HOPE 20th Anniversary Bus Tour ceremony in Los Angeles, California. She emphasized the importance of economic development and opportunity in the years following the Rodney King riots.

    In 1999, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded Operation Hope $200,000 to help bring more economic opportunities to a hard-hit area of Los Angeles. Since then, Operation HOPE has helped bring more investments, more economic opportunity, and more empowerment into underserved communities in Los Angeles as well as other cities around the U.S.

    Deputy Secretary Blank also highlighted how the Recovery Act that President Obama signed in 2009 allowed the Commerce Department to provide $7.5 million dollars to the City of Los Angeles to install high-speed broadband connections and to place thousands of new computers at about 150 sites. As a result, about 130,000 people are using those computers every week–from students doing homework to unemployed workers applying for job.

    She also emphasized the importance of access to education and mentoring for young people throughout the U.S. In particular, she called for preventing interest rates on student loans from doubling on over seven million students on July 1.

    As an economist, the Deputy Secretary’s past work had focused on how America can address economic inequalities such as promoting more education, opportunities and jobs in underserved communities.


  • 2012 Citizens Medal: Open for Nominations

    For more than 40 years, the Presidential Citizens Medal has recognized Americans who have "performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." Yesterday, the President invited you, the American public, to nominate everyday heroes for one of our nation’s highest civilian honors.

    Who is your hero? Who has gone above and beyond, performing extraordinary deeds of service? Help us recognize the exemplary citizen from your community -- and bring them the public attention they deserve by nominating them for this year’s medal.

    Here is an inspiring example of a hero honored last year:

  • Department of Energy Hosts Women In STEM Tweet Up

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Energy 

    Jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are high-paying, innovation-driven, and mission-essential. Yet while women have half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, 76 percent of STEM jobs are held by men. This gap has been seen throughout the past decade. We need to take a close look at the gender disparity in these fields that are so critical to completing the mission of the Department of Energy, and encourage and support women to take part in STEM positions. 

    Join us for a conversation about women in STEM on Twitter on Thursday, March 22 at 2:30pm EDT by following the hashtag #STEM.  

    You'll be able to ask experts how we can advance women's education and empowerment to bring women into STEM careers. 

    The Energy Department's (@ENERGY) Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman and Technology Transfer Coordinator Dr. Karina Edmonds will host the Tweet Up. 

    The Department of Education's Faith Based and Community Partnerships Director Reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell (@edpartners) will join the conversation, along with Congresswoman Eddie B. Johnson (@RepEBJ), Argonne National Lab Women in Science and Technology Leader Kawtar Hafidi (@argonne), the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (@WhiteHouseAAPI), NASA's Mamta Patel Nagaraja (@womenNASA), the Department of Agriculture's Dr. Jenna Jadin & Dr. Dionne Fortson Toombs  (@USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Education Director Louisa Koch (@usNOAAgov) and the Department of Labor's Sara Manzano-Diaz at (@usDOL).

    You can send us your questions before or during the event via Twitter to @Energy using the hashtag #STEM or by email to

    Gloria B. Smith is Deputy Director, Office of Diversity & Inclusion for the U.S. Department of Energy

  • The Affordable Care Act: Making a Difference for African-Americans

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the The Grio

    It has been two years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, and already, the new law is improving the lives of African-Americans.

     Since March 2009, more than 2.4 million African-American seniors with Medicare have received free preventive services such as diabetes screenings. About 410,000 more African- American young adults who would otherwise be uninsured gained coverage due to the law. In addition, 5.5 million African-Americans with private health insurance now have coverage for preventive services without paying an extra penny at their doctor's office.

     And 10.4 million African-Americans with private insurance coverage no longer face lifetime limits thanks to the new health care law -- in other words, your insurance company can no longer drop your coverage at a time when you need it most.

  • White House: Health Care Law Protects Students After Graduation

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from Newsobserver

    Graduation is just a few months away - and many of you will soon be making important decisions about jobs, graduate school, and your futures. Graduation day is always filled with promise, yet for you and your classmates, graduation day has also traditionally raised another worrisome question: where am I going to get health insurance?

    The good news is that thanks to the new health care law, many young adults up to age 26 can now stay on their parent's plan. Since President Obama signed this landmark law two years ago this week, 2.5 million additional young adults have been able to get coverage under this invaluable benefit.

    Before Congress enacted the health care law in 2010, most newly-minted college graduates left not only the classroom behind but their health insurance as well. That meant having to hopefully find a job that provided coverage - or buying coverage on their own, which can be unaffordable, especially for someone just out of college.

    Those challenges meant that young adults were almost twice as likely to be uninsured as older Americans.