Blog Posts Related to the African American Community

  • National African American History Month 2014: Civil Rights in America

    Progress in America has never come easy. Through centuries of struggle and hard-won victories, our country has been shaped by generations of Americans who believed this could be the Nation envisioned in our founding principles —a nation where all are treated equal, and all are free to pursue their dreams. With the leadership and resilience of African Americans, who have tirelessly championed these principles throughout our history, our Union continues to move forward toward a stronger, more just future for all.

    This National African American History Month, as we reflect on “Civil Rights in America,” we celebrate historic achievements and foot soldiers, well-known and unknown, who fought to secure rights long denied. But as we hail our successes as a nation, we also acknowledge that there is more work to be done. We still have more to do to ensure every American has access to the health care they need at a price they can afford. We must keep fighting until every worker knows the stability of a fair wage, every family has access to ladders of opportunity into the middle class, and every young person gets a world-class education to prepare them for tomorrow’s jobs.

    The Obama Administration has made strides in restoring opportunity for all Americans, and throughout the month of February we will highlight healthcare, economic mobility, young men of color and the impact of STEM as creating pathways of success and security for African Americans.

    This week our focus is on the Affordable Care Act. While statistics show that 1 in 5 African Americans are uninsured, the Affordable Care Act provides an opportunity for every American to access affordable healthcare. Organizations like the NAACP and National Urban League along with African American churches have been hosting enrollment sessions from Richmond to Dallas to Los Angeles. Secretary Sebelius will meet with African American leaders on benefits of the Affordable Care Act this week, and to discuss efforts to enroll Americans in coverage before the March 31 enrollment deadline. The week concludes with Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, where we will work to raise awareness about survival stories and highlight the work being done in government, academia, public health medicine, and community outreach to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    Follow us at www.whitehouse.gov/africanamericans for further updates and blog posts this month, and don't forget to check out the President's Proclamation for African American History Month here.

    Heather Foster is an Advisor in the White House Office of Public Engagement.

  • A Renewed Call to Action to End Rape and Sexual Assault

    As part of an unprecedented national effort to address alarming rates of sexual assault on college campuses, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today to establish the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault." The taskforce will be charged with sharing best practices, and increasing transparency, enforcement, public awareness, and interagency coordination to prevent violence and support survivors. The creation of this Task Force builds upon the President’s 2010 call to action, which urged the federal government to support survivors and aggressively take action against sexual assault.

    The statistics around sexual assault in this country are nothing short of jarring. A report just released by the White House Council on Women and Girls entitled, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” reveals that nearly 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 71 men have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. These statistics are stunning, but still can’t begin to capture the emotional and psychological scars that survivors often carry for life, or the courage needed to recover.

    President Barack Obama signs the Campus Sexual Assault Presidential Memorandum during a White House Council on Women and Girls meeting in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 22, 2014.

    President Barack Obama signs the Campus Sexual Assault Presidential Memorandum during a White House Council on Women and Girls meeting in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Today’s report states that students experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault. This violence, and the stress, fear, and mental health challenges that often follow, combine to increase dropout rates and limit opportunities for success in college for women and girls. The Administration is committed to investing in women’s education, training, and full inclusion in the workforce, and the President strongly believes that combatting sexual assault is vital to that effort.

  • Remembering Nelson Mandela

    Today in Johannesburg, President Obama joined leaders from the United States and around the world at a national memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela.

    In President Obama’s remarks, he reflected on what Mandela meant to him personally, as well as to the people of South Africa, and urged all of us to remember Madiba’s legacy and contributions to humanity.

    For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe, Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate a heroic life. But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection.  With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask:  How well have I applied his lessons in my own life?  It’s a question I ask myself, as a man and as a President. 

  • President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Passing of Nelson Mandela

    This afternoon, from the White House Briefing Room, President Obama delivered a statement on the passing of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, calling him "a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice."

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela, in the James. S. Brady James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 5, 2013.

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, in the James S. Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    "We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again," the President said. "So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set:  to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice."

    Read the President's full remarks here.

  • 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.

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    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