the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Readout of the President's Meeting with African American Civil Rights and Faith Leaders

Today, President Obama met with African American civil rights and faith leaders to provide an update on the Administration’s priorities as described in the State of the Union. The meeting was also an opportunity to have a dialogue with the leaders about the issues facing their communities, including criminal justice, education, health care and economic development. The President highlighted the upcoming release of the report by the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and emphasized the  work of the Task Force leading to the report’s creation. The President also spoke about his efforts to work with a broad bipartisan coalition to continue to reform the criminal justice system and the significance of doing so for the country. The President noted the upcoming anniversary of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative tomorrow and the progress made by the initiative with over 150 elected officials, cities and tribes having accepted the community challenge. The President and leaders also agreed to work together to find ways to strengthen our nation’s voting laws and reduce any barriers that prevent Americans from voting. The leaders in attendance agreed to continue their outreach to their communities and to work with the Administration on its efforts to implement its initiatives.

Participants included:

  • Cornell Brooks, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (NAACP LDF)
  • Marc Morial, National Urban League (NUL)
  • Spencer Overton, Interim President and CEO, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Catherine Pugh, National Black State Legislators
  • Al Sharpton, National Action Network (NAN)
  • John Boyd, President, National Black Farmers Association
  • Ron Busby, President, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
  • Edwin Bass, COGIC Urban Initiatives, Inc.
  • Bishop George Battle, Jr., African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
  • Reverend Traci Blackmon, Christ The King United Church of Christ
  • Reverend Kip Banks, Sr., Interim General Secretary, Progressive National Baptist Church
  • Reverend Jesse Bottoms, Jr., National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. of the Northeast Region
  • Bishop Charles Ellis, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
  • Michael McBride, PICO’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign
  • Reverend Samuel Tolbert, Jr., National Baptist Convention of America
  • Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Skinner Leadership Institute