Blog Posts Related to the African American Community
- Posted byon March 6, 2012 at 8:15 PM EDT
Throughout the past month the President joined Americans across the country in celebrating Black History Month and the many contributions and rich culture of African Americans. For centuries, African Americans have broken barriers and enriched the story of our nation - from classrooms to boardrooms and from industry to our legendary military. This year’s theme, "Black Women in American Culture and History," invited all to reflect on the role African American women have played in shaping the narrative of our nation’s history.
During Black History Month, visitors who toured the White House were welcomed by volunteers and viewed displays that showcased photos of prominent African American women with Presidents or at the White House. Photographs featured during the tour can be viewed here. The White House also highlighted black women throughout the government and their accomplishments through blog posts on the WhiteHouse.Gov/AfricanAmericans webpage, as well as with a video message from the First Lady.
Featured blog posts:
- First Lady Michele Obama: Celebrating Black Women in American Culture and History
- The Tuskegee Airmen visit the White House
- Inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture
- In Performance: White House event celebrating Blues music
- Honoring Unsung Heroes During Black History Month
- Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden host the Third Annual Black History Month Reception
In addition to honoring African American women –each week during Black History Month, the Obama Administration held events highlighting themes from the President’s Blueprint for an America Built to Last. These themed weeks gave Cabinet Members and Administration officials an opportunity to continue to discuss the President’s plan to build a stronger economy through American Manufacturing, American Energy, Skills for American Workers, and a commitment to a renewal of American Values, as well as how this plan will impact all Americans, including African Americans.
For a recent report on the President’s agenda and the African American Community, please click here. The President’s 2012 proclamation for National African American Heritage Month can also be found here.
Black History Month Activities
Sunday, January 29:
- The First Family visited the Corcoran Gallery of Art to view the "30 Americans" exhibit, a collection of thirty prominent African American artists of the last three decades.
Wednesday, February 1:
- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hosted a conference call with African American Stakeholders to discuss the Administration’s commitment to making college more affordable for all Americans. Secretary Duncan also discussed the President’s Blueprint to provide skills for American workers.
- Posted byon March 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM EDT
For the past year, Amy Ward of West Des Moines, Iowa has been living through a medical emergency that sounds like a TV plotline. Months after returning from a vacation, she came down with a rare fungal infection – a disease that only a tiny fraction of the population contracts – and nearly died.
On her road to recovery, Amy's had to be on ventilators and dialysis. She's needed potent antifungal agents that cost up to $1,600 a dose. Her medical expenses quickly added up.
Without the Affordable Care Act, Amy and her husband may not have been able to afford all the care she needed to recover. Before the new health reform law, Amy's health insurance policy had a lifetime dollar limit of $1 million. While it sounds like a lot, Amy's expenses exceeded that amount within months.
Lifetime limits used to be common – in 2009, nearly 60 percent of employer-sponsored plans and 89 percent of individually purchased coverage had them.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Amy is one of 105 million Americans – and nearly 1.2 million Iowans – with private health insurance who no longer will face lifetime limits on their care. You can read the Department of Health and Human Services' latest research on the number of people who no longer have a lifetime limit on their insurance plan here.
This lifetime limit ban is just one of many new consumer protections created by the new law. Annual dollar limits on coverage are being phased out. And 54 million Americans received new coverage of prevention without cost sharing in 2011.
Today, the Obama Administration released a new source of data, Health Reform: Results in Your State, to show how the law's benefits and protections are helping Americans across the country. To see how many people in your state are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, click here (23.5KB XLSX file).
- Posted byon March 1, 2012 at 12:23 PM EDT
On a cold Tuesday morning, Mrs. Darlene White-Dottin’s first grade class arrived at school at 4:30 in the morning. However, these students from Orchard Gardens School in Boston, MA weren’t arriving early to hit the books; they were about to begin an once-in-a-lifetime field trip to Washington, D.C. The class was going to recite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech for President Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the White House.
Showing no signs of exhaustion, the students enthusiastically recited Dr. King’s speech and conveyed the powerful meaning of his teachings by describing to the President what the words meant to them.
- Posted byon February 28, 2012 at 5:51 PM EDT
Each year America recognizes the month of February as National African American History Month. We reflect and celebrate the heritage and legacy of African Americans and many of their achievements. The theme for this year’s African American History Month is focusing on, “Black Women in American Culture and History.” In his 2012 proclamation, President Obama says, “During National African American History Month, we pay tribute to the contributions of past generations and reaffirm our commitment to keeping the American dream alive for the next generation.”
Dru Ealons is a Presidential appointee in the Obama Administration. She serves at the Environmental Protection Agency as the Director for the Office of Public Engagement. Dru is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of EPA’s public engagement efforts on behalf of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
Prior to joining EPA, in 2010, Dru worked as the director of development for Pathways, a homeless shelter for women and children in Birmingham, Alabama. In this role, she served as the chief fundraising officer, managed Pathway’s board of directors and served as the official spokesperson for the Agency. Dru has also worked as the diversity and community relations executive for Southern Progress Corporation, a magazine and book publishing corporation.
Dru received her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Human Resource Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and currently resides in Silver Spring, MD with her husband Corey and her young son, Maxwell.
What achievements are you most proud of being a successful black woman?
I’ve received several awards, from being honored by a service organization in Birmingham as Woman of the Year to Ebony magazine’s 30 under 30. Now that I’m well past 30 and I look back over my life, I’m most proud of the woman that I’ve become. My spiritual life throughout my journey, the trials and the triumphs, have shaped me into the woman I am today. So, make no mistake about it, my greatest achievement is from allowing God to be the pilot of my life. To that end, my success comes from above and I’m very proud of that.
- Posted byon February 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM EDT
During Black History Month, we pause to salute and reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the rich fabric that makes up the United States. There are many untold stories that reveal the best of Americans who stepped up when duty called, broke color barriers, or quietly made their communities better one person at a time.
In tribute, President Obama recently invited six special senior citizens to visit the White House to honor as unsung heroes. These unsung heroes are individuals who strengthen their communities through extraordinary everyday acts of service done with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition.
Among those who visited with President Obama were pioneers in the struggle for racial equality, educators who changed their communities through the classroom, and people who believe that a lifetime serving others is a life well spent.
- Posted byon February 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM EDT
On Thursday, February 16, Mocha Moms, Inc. attended a “Mocha Moms Summit,” a briefing with the White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More than 150 leaders of Mocha Moms, Inc., a national non-profit organization that supports stay at home mothers of color, were invited to the White House for a briefing as part of the Administration's celebration of National African American History Month. It was an invitation that we were ecstatic about; one we could not pass up. More than 350 Mocha Moms and their families capped off the experience and were invited to return the next day for an East Wing tour.
The two-day event was a chance to hear a full briefing from White House officials representing a wide range of departments and agencies, including EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, on issues that were important to us. It was an historic milestone for our organization. Mothers packed their signature Mocha pins and splashes of pink and brown and travelled from across the country. Despite economic circumstances, work put on hold, husbands babysitting, and honey "to do" lists written, the Mocha Moms, Inc. made sure to be present.
When President Obama issued his recent proclamation in honor of National African American History Month, he paid special tribute to the nameless African American women who have been, and currently are, the backbones of many communities saying, “…African American women have long served as champions of social and political change.” I would like to think that President Obama might have been speaking directly to us.
Cameras were clicked, mothers were hugged, and business cards were exchanged. A. The energy at the Moms Summit was powerful and when Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady, told us that Mocha Moms had been discussed at the senior staff meeting, there was a resounding applause. Panelists shared with us a myriad of programs and policies to help promote fitness and eliminate health disparities. They talked about many domestic policy issues including: initiatives aimed at women and girls; policies to protect the environment; health care; insurance; rising college costs and subsidized student loans. Our mothers asked questions ranging from recess, autism, the mortgage crisis, to workplace flexibility, health insurance, and small business. I moderated a "Mom Chat" with EPA Administrator Jackson. Shushana Vignier, former president of the Essex County, New Jersey chapter and Newark teacher, brought the room to tears while recounting her story of meeting a 5th grader that does not know how to read. That was the type of powerful dialogue that occurred.
Four mothers of color in Maryland founded Mocha Moms, Inc. in 1997. Today, with 100 chapters in 29 states, we continue to support the changing needs of mothers of color in the workplace and at home. Through our partnerships with such organizations as America’s Promise, the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Boys Booked on Barbershops, Be The Match and Donate Life America, Mocha Moms are participating in a wide range of community service.
We hope our trip to the White House continues a much-needed dialog with mothers of color in this country. We are eager to learn more so we can continue to make educated decisions for our families and ourselves. We know the future of the next generation will depend on it.