Blog Posts Related to the African American Community

  • 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.

  • Our Favorite Moments of the President with Icons of African American History and the Civil Rights Movement

    Since taking office, President Obama has welcomed many icons of the civil rights movement to the White House, including Tuskegee Airmen, Freedom Riders, Negro League Baseball players, artists, musicians and activists. Today, with President Obama set to speak from the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we present some of our favorite behind the scenes moments of the President with these icons of African American history and the civil rights movement.  

    Be sure to tune in at 2:45 ET today to watch the President's remarks live at whitehouse.gov/live

    Ruby Bridges visits her portrait in the White House
    Ruby Bridges visited the White House to see how a painting commemorating her personal and historic milestone looks hanging on the wall outside of the Oval Office.

    Watch on YouTube

    Tuskegee Airmen visit the White House
    The President and the First Lady host Tuskegee Airmen along with cast and crew members of the movie Red Tails for a screening at the White House.

    Watch on YouTube

  • Our 'Fierce Urgency of Now'

    Ed. note: This is part of a series of blog posts written by Administration officials in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. Read more here.

    When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the March on Washington, he described a “fierce urgency of now.” He reminded a divided nation that we need one another, and that we are stronger when we march forward, together. “We cannot walk alone,” he said. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.” 

    A half century later, Dr. King’s words have renewed meaning.

    For every little boy or girl in America whose health lies in the balance, there is an urgency of now.

    For every one of our neighbors who lives day-after-day in fear because they do not have insurance, there is an urgency of now.

    For every mom or dad who has faced bankruptcy because of a mounting medical bill, there is an urgency of now.

    Without the opportunity to live a healthy life, there is no opportunity to live the American dream or participate fully in our communities. Without the freedom which comes from having access to quality health care, there is no freedom to reach our full potential in the workforce or watch our kids or grandkids grow up. Without the security of health insurance, there is no economic security for middle-class families, and so many other families working their way into the middle class. 

    The time for division and debate has passed. Now is the time to march forward.