Blog Posts Related to the African American Community

  • President Obama Supports High School Redesign to Ensure Educational Excellence

    President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan talk with students while visiting a classroom at the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH)

    President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan talk with students while visiting a classroom at the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    To highlight his High School Redesign initiative, President Obama recently visited and spoke at Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, New York. P-TECH is one of several new transformative high school designs that incorporate innovative approaches to curriculum that help lead to higher academic outcomes, greater student engagement, and future student success. The proposed $300 million High School Redesign program would integrate challenging and relevant academic and career-related learning experiences that prepare students for post-secondary education and careers.

    P-TECH, a middle and high school, was established in 2011 as a partnership between IBM, the New York City Department of Education, and the City University of New York's College of Technology. In 2017, the school will graduate its first class of students who, over six years of STEM study and training, earn a joint high school diploma and associate's degree in computer information systems and electromechanical engineering technology. P-TECH's rigorous course of academic study was co-designed with IBM. The company has also invested $500,000 to provide software support, mentors, and internship opportunities for every P-TECH student.

  • How The Affordable Care Act Will Benefit African Americans

     The Affordable Care Act –will help make health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans.  For African Americans, like other racial and ethnic minorities, the law will address inequities and will increase access to quality, affordable health coverage, invest in prevention and wellness, and give individuals and families more control over their care.

    African Americans suffer from obesity, heart disease, and diabetes at higher levels than the general population. For example, in 2010, 37 percent of African Americans were obese, compared to 26% of whites1. Expanding opportunities for coverage can improve health outcomes for African Americans.

    Already, the Affordable Care Act has benefitted the nearly 85% of Americans who already have insurance:

    • 3.1 million young adults have gained coverage through the parents’ plans
    • 6.6 million seniors are paying less for prescription drugs
    • 105 million Americans are paying less for preventative care & no longer face lifetime coverage limits
    • 13.1 million Americans have received rebates from insurance companies
    • 17 million children with pre-existing conditions no longer denied coverage or charged extra
    African American our Community, healthy and strong

    Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will provide 6.8 million uninsured African Americans an opportunity to get affordable health insurance coverage. The following provides an overview of the coverage and benefits available to African Americans today and those made possible by the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    Happening Now:

    • An estimated 7.3 million African Americans with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services with no cost sharing. These services include well-child visits, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, Pap tests and mammograms for women, and flu shots for children and adults.
    • The 4.5 million elderly and disabled African Americans who receive health coverage from Medicare also have access to many preventive services with no cost-sharing, including annual wellness visits with personalized prevention plans, diabetes and colorectal cancer screening, bone mass measurement and mammograms.
    • More than 500,000 young African American adults between ages 19 and 25 who would otherwise have been uninsured now have coverage under their parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan.
    • Major federal investments to improve quality of care are improving management of chronic diseases more prevalent among African Americans.
    • The health care workforce will be more diverse due to a near tripling of the National Health Service Corps. African American physicians make up about 17 percent of Corps physicians, a percentage that greatly exceeds their 6 percent share of the national physician workforce.
    • Investments in data collection and research will help us better understand the causes of health care disparities and develop effective programs to eliminate them.
    • Targeted interventions, such as Community Transformation Grants, will promote healthy lifestyles, lower health care costs, and reduce health disparities.
    • Increased funding available to more than 1,100 community health centers will increase the number of patients served. One of every five patients at a health center is African American.

    Coming Soon:

    • 6.8 million uninsured African Americans will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Of the 6.8 million uninsured African Americans who are eligible for coverage through the Marketplace, 56 percent are men.
    • The Marketplace is a destination where consumers can compare insurance options in simple, easy to understand language. At the Marketplace, consumers will be able to compare insurance options based on price, benefits, quality and other factors with a clear picture of premiums and cost-sharing amounts to help them choose the insurance that best fits their needs.  
    • Consumers may be eligible for free or low cost coverage, or advance premium tax credits that lower monthly premiums right away.  Individuals with higher incomes (up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $94,200 for a family of four) will be eligible to purchase subsidized coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace.
    • States have new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage to include Americans with family incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (generally $31,322 for a family of four in 2013). This expansion includes adults without dependent children living at home, who have not previously been eligible in most states. 

    New Report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on lower than expected premiums available in the new Health Insurance Marketplace:

    A new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that in state after state, consumers will see increased competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace, leading to new and affordable choices for consumers.  According to the report, consumers will be able to choose from an average of 53 health plans in the Marketplace, and the vast majority of consumers will have a choice of at least two different health insurance companies - usually more.  Premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected – with about 95 percent of eligible uninsured live in states with lower than expected premiums – before taking into account financial assistance.

    To read the report on health insurance rates, visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketplacePremiums/ib_marketplace_premiums.cfm.
    To view the data on rates, visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketplacePremiums/datasheet_home.cfm.

    Getting answers is easy:

    Visit HERE for helpful resources to get more information on the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    _____________________

    1 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_252.pdf

     

    ASPA Sept 26

     
    Kevin Lewis is the White House Director of African American Media

  • President Obama Names New Leadership to the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

    It is an exciting day at the White House, and across the country, as President Obama names two dynamic new leaders to head the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Dr. George Cooper will begin this week as the Initiative’s Executive Director, and Dr. Ivory Toldson will serve as Deputy Director. 

    The task at hand for Dr. Cooper and Dr. Toldson is to lead a team, stretched across 32 federal agencies, corporate entities, and philanthropic organizations, to work together in strengthening the capacity of over 100 HBCUs, as they strive to shape this country’s next generation of leaders.

  • U.S. Mint-Produced Congressional Gold Medal Posthumously Awarded to the Victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

    Read this blog post on Treasury's website HERE

    Watch: video of POTUS signing a bill in the Oval Office designating the Congressional Gold Medal to commemorate the lives of four young girls who were killed in Birmingham, Alabama at the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing of 1963.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtiQfXDiS4M

    9/10/2013

    Birmingham Gold Coin FINAL

    September 15, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the tragic deaths of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley in Birmingham, Alabama. The four girls, aged 11-14, were entering a Sunday school class when a planted bomb exploded at the city’s historically African American 16th Street Baptist Church. This act of racially-motivated violence galvanized the Civil Rights Movement and sparked a surge of momentum that helped secure the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    To commemorate their lives, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell introduced H.R. 360 to posthumously award Addie Mae, Denise, Carole and Cynthia with the Congressional Gold Medal, which along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is considered one of the highest civilian honors bestowed in the United States. The bill required the Secretary of the Treasury – and by extension, the United States Mint – to strike the gold medal, as well as bronze duplicates. After the bill passed the House 420-0 and, under the leadership of U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, passed the Senate by unanimous consent this spring, President Obama signed the bill into law on May 24, 2013.

    Today, with family members of the “four little girls” and civil rights leaders from across the country looking on, House Speaker John Boehner awarded the medal, entrusting it to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, AL, where it will be displayed. Treasury is humbled by the opportunity to play a role in honoring Addie Mae, Denise, Carole and Cynthia and their impact on American history.

    To learn more about the events of September 15, 1963, please visit here. Bronze duplicates of the medal will be available for purchase starting tomorrow at 12pm EDT here.

    Read a related blog post by Valerie Jarrett HERE.

    Rosie Rios is the Treasurer of the United States.

     

  • An Immigration Reform for a Nation of Immigrants

    Earlier this week, as part of a series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I attended the White House Ladders of Opportunity Forum. As I responded to questions about inequality, housing, jobs, and a host of other issues that affect the middle class and those striving to reach the middle class, I got a couple of questions that come up frequently in the course of my work. The first question was about how the current immigration debate affects these economic issues. And the second was from an African immigrant wondering what a new immigration law might mean for her. 

    There’s a reason that President Obama describes immigration reform as an economic imperative, and now that the Senate has passed a bill with a strong bipartisan vote, we can actually measure what the economic impact of this bill will be. The numbers are impressive: the Senate-passed immigration bill would:

    • Strengthen the overall economy and grow U.S. GDP by 3.3 percent in 2023 and 5.4 percent in 2033 – an increase of roughly $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033 in today’s dollars.
    • Increase real wages by 0.5 percent in 2033 relative to current law – the equivalent of about an annual $250 increase today for a median household.
    • Reduce the federal deficit by nearly $850 billion over the next 20 years.

    It’s clear that immigration reform fits squarely in the President’s agenda to make sure that policymakers in Washington do everything they can to build a better bargain for the middle class, growing our economy in a way that ensures that we all benefit.

  • DHS Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

    This blog post can also be read on the DHS website HERE.

    Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a historic event that bought more than participants from across the country to Washington, DC to march for social and economic equality. On this day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech, a speech that would inspire profound change in American history.

    This monumental event set the stage for the passage of groundbreaking civil rights legislation, beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many more civil rights protections followed in critical areas such as education, employment, housing, and disability rights, to name a few.

    A number of these civil rights protections are embedded in the work we conduct here at DHS. The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), ensures that safeguards of individual rights and liberties are in place for everything the Department does, because we know that a safe and secure homeland means also ensuring that civil rights and liberties remain protected.

    Each and every day:

    • Our Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity strives to ensure that all employees and applicants for employment at DHS enjoy equal opportunity and employment decisions free from unlawful discrimination.
    • Our Antidiscrimination Group engages in policy work to ensure fair and equitable treatment of individuals and guards against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, sex, and age in DHS programs and activities.
    • Our Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Impact Assessments evaluate DHS policies to determine if they impact the rights and liberties of those affected by a given initiative.
    • Our Community Engagement Section works with diverse communities throughout the country whose civil rights and civil liberties may be affected by our policies and actions, informing them of avenues of redress.
    • Our Compliance Division investigates and resolves complaints filed by the public alleging abuses of civil rights or civil liberties, including racial, ethnic, or religious profiling.

    We continue to support the Department’s mission to protect the nation while preserving individual liberty, fairness, and equality under the law, inspired by those men and women who marched on Washington 50 years ago who forever changed the landscape of civil rights in our country.

    Read more about the work CRCL does to protect civil rights and civil liberties here.