Blog Posts Related to the African American Community
- Posted byon May 31, 2012 at 11:43 AM EDT
Ed. Note: This op-ed first ran in The Grio
Throughout his distinguished career, Bob Herbert has helped shine a spotlight on the lives of Americans living in poverty – a group that is too often ignored. That was certainly true of his May 21st column, in which he told the story of 20 poor children from the Bronx who are growing up in truly appalling conditions. It was heartbreaking to hear about the children Mr. Herbert met: The girl who told him, “I never feel safe.” The child who said she felt there was no purpose to her existence. The stories they told about too many shootings, and too few jobs.
Mr. Herbert expressed understandable frustration that our political discourse rarely focuses on the notion that the American dream is closed off to far too many of our citizens. But when Mr. Herbert suggested that President Obama has “given up” on the idea of opportunity and upward mobility, he was simply wrong.
There’s a basic bargain in America. It says that no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules you should be able to find a good job, feel secure in your community, and support a family. I have worked in the White House since the day President Obama took office. At every juncture-every big decision, every major policy development, every negotiation -- I have seen President Obama fight for the things that help our country preserve that bargain for all Americans, rich or poor.
- Posted byon May 16, 2012 at 3:38 PM EDT
On Saturday, May 12, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address for the graduating class of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University (NC A&T), a historically black university located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The First Lady began by noting the many A&T alumni who broke through glass ceilings in fields of law, science, and business:
You have produced some of our nation's finest leaders in business, government, and our military. The first African American Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court was an Aggie. So was the second African American astronaut. And so were those four young men who sat down at a lunch counter 52 years ago and will stand forever in bronze in front of the Dudley building.
Mrs. Obama also retold the story about the Greensboro Four --students who did more than participate in a sit-in at Woolworths to desegregate lunch counters during the 1960s. They were also an inspiration for justice and civil disobedience during the collective effort toward equal rights for all Americans:
It all started because a small group of young people had their eyes open to the injustices around them. It all started because they decided, as one fo the four told the newspaper on the first day of the protests, that it was "time for someone to wake up and change the situation." And that, more than anything else, is the story of our nation's progress right from the very beginning.
The First Lady closed with a call to action for the 1200 graduates to not just focus on climbing the career ladder job titles, but to continue fighting to change the many injustices that still exist today:
Each generation lookas at the world around them and decides that it's time to wake up and change the situation. And we've always looked to our young people to lead the way. We always have.
So graduates, now it's your turn. It's time for you to take that baton. Take it. It's time for you to carry the banner forward. It's time for you to wake the rest of us up and show us everything you've got.
Click here to read Mrs. Obama's full commencement speech to the 2012 Graduating class of North Carolina A&T.
Heather Foster is an Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement
- Posted byon May 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM EDT
Ed. Note: This post was originally published on Treasury Notes.
Today, millions of Americans who are current on their mortgage payments cannot refinance at historically-low interest rates. The President is proposing legislation that would allow more homeowners to refinance. Under the President’s plan, they would have two refinancing options.
Check out what those options are in this infographic (click here or on the image below to see the full infographic):
- Posted byon May 9, 2012 at 12:21 PM EDT
Summer Jobs+ is a call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for young people in the summer of 2012. It's about helping people find their first jobs.
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, says her first job taught her about working with people who are under enormous amounts of stress, the importance of paying attention to details and something that virtually every worker deals with each day--showing up to work on time. Check it out:
So far, employers have committed to providing more than 300,000 jobs, mentorships, and other employment opportunities this summer through Summer Jobs+.
You heard about Valerie's first job. Now go find yours.
- Posted byon May 4, 2012 at 11:36 AM EDT
On Monday, April 30th, the White House Office of Public Engagement hosted the first African American Policy Forum in Las Vegas, Nevada. The administration partnered with Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to discuss a wide-range of topics including, jobs, housing and development, small business and entrepreneurship, the economy, and how each affect the African American community.
During the forum, visitors who were in attendance were welcomed by Senator Harry Reid, followed by keynote remarks from administration official, Raphael Bostic, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to hearing remarks, various administration and local officials held panels to discuss job training, business and the economy. Notably, Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services discussed health disparities and other health-related issues during her segment. The panel gave officials another opportunity to discuss the President's plan to build a stronger economy and how his plans will help strengthen the African American community.
The African American Policy Forums serve as great opportunities for the public to be engaged on how the President is addressing some of the issues that affect the community most. More information on upcoming African American Policy Forums, White House events, and additional information on President Obama and the African American community can be found here.
- Posted byon April 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM EDT
Art has helped create the America that we know and love today. And at its best, film allows us a window into our own lives and get a chance to see the world through someone else's eyes. One of the heroes of American cinema, Atticus Finch, said that "you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
That great line is from the classic film "To Kill A Mockingbird," a movie that has informed and entertained us for generations. I love the movies. And art gave me the chance at a young age to experience a world beyond my neighborhood in Chicago and develop skills that have lasted a lifetime.
Stories like mine are reasons President Obama is committed to recognizing the importance of the fine arts. And as a part of his constant effort to acknowledge and celebrate the arts and their impact on our country, on Thursday, April 5, President Obama commemorated the 50th Anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird—a 1962 film adaptation of author Harper Lee’s 1960 novel about racial inequality in the deep south—by hosting a screening in the Family Theater at the White House. The invited guests included actors and family members related to the film. Among them was Mary Badham Wilt, the actress who played Scout; Veronique Peck, widow of Gregory Peck who played Atticus Finch; and students from local school in Virginia, Washington-Lee High School.