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Keeping the Dream Alive: President Obama's Work with the African American Community

Michael Blake, Director of African American Outreach for the White House, reflects on President Obama's speech at the Keepers of the Dream Awards Gala.

On Wednesday, April 6th, the National Action Network kicked off its 20th anniversary convention, celebrating "20 years of struggle, 20 years of progress, 20 years of shaping history."

During the day, four Cabinet members--Education Secretary Duncan, Attorney General Holder, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan--spoke to convention attendees about how the Obama Administration has been working with the African American community. That night, President Obama spoke at the Keepers of the Dream Awards Gala.

The President shared how we are building upon a new foundation to ensure that we are winning the future through job creation, access to affordable health care, providing housing assistance, tackling poverty, and focusing on education to be the pathway to our long-term economic prosperity. He spoke words from his heart of how public service can help people: "Yes, we have a ways to go to address unemployment and housing, but if we work together, we can get to another of King's beloved mountaintops and promised lands."

While the night was filled with memorable moments, the one that stuck with me was sitting next to my mom, Hilary Lawrence, a breast cancer survivor who went from no house in Jamaica to helping me work at the White House in D.C. My mom and my loving dad did so much to pave the way for me. To sit there as the Director of African American Outreach and experience this with her was one of those revelation moments where I reflected on the past and am so grateful for the future.

On the same day, we launched a new website--Winning the Future: President Obama and the African American Community. This website will allow for people to better understand how the Obama Administration's policies and work have benefited the African American community, from minority-owned businesses having more access to capital, to the benefits of health reform that are improving the lives of all Americans. We hope you'll find the new site useful!

Michael Blake is the Director of African American Outreach for the White House.