Blog Posts Related to the African American Community

  • 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.

  • Obama Administration Celebrates Black History Month

    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:

    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.

  • New Data: The Affordable Care Act in Your State

    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).

  • A Field Trip with the President

    Orchard Gardens Students Meet President

    President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick listen as Orchard Gardens Elementary School students recite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “I Have a Dream" speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Feb. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    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.