President Obama

Recent Articles

Washington football team should drop the “R” word

 

Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“At a moment when President Obama and Republican leaders remain deeply divided, this week saw them come to a bipartisan agreement on one thing: It is time for Washington’s NFL team to stop using a racial slur and to finally change its name” — Oneida Indian Nation radio ad. This past Sunday, as Dallas and Washington revived their annual NFL football rivalry, they also found themselves in the middle of an escalating fight over the name of the Washington football team. In fact, as part of its “Change the Mascot” campaign; the Oneida Indian Nation is running radio ads in Dallas and the other cities where the Washington football team is playing this year calling for DC’s team to drop the “R” word from its name. This is all part of a larger movement among civil rights organizations and political leaders from both the left and right who correctly point out that the term “Redskins” is a racial slur. Suzan Shown Harjo, a Native American woman who lives in Washington and directs the Morning Star Institute, has been leading this fight and others like it since the 1960s. Continue Reading →

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How much do we value Black gay men?

By Paul Kawata

Guest Commentator

 

For decades, Bayard Rustin has been one of the least known, yet prolific, contributors to the civil rights movement. Rustin served as the brains behind the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, managing to coordinate and promote the event in just two months. But, as a gay man, Rustin was kept in the shadows by the homophobia of both his enemies and his allies at the time. August 28 marked the 50th anniversary of Rustin’s effort to collectivize a racial and economic rally that became a watershed moment for contemporary civil rights. Rustin emblemizes both a contemporary and historic fight for racial equality, which is now accompanied by a quest for economic justice, as well as gay rights. Continue Reading →

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We need a change

 

 

By Marian Wright Edelman

Guest Commentator

 

“Dear President Obama . . . Guns are really easy to get and people think they need them to protect themselves, but most times they’re showing off and making more problems and adding to the violence… 7 people are too many to lose and I don’t want to see another one of my friends, or even myself gone. We need a change.”

In mid-July, students at Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools summer enrichment sites across the country participated in a National Day of Action. Continue Reading →

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Get mental illness out of the shadows

President Obama hosted a summit June 3 in which he called for mental illness to come out of the shadows. With the increased concerns about the role of mental illness in the perpetrators of mass violence, questions are being raised about the adequacy and availability of mental health resources. Over 54 million Americans experience symptoms of a mental health disorder in any given year, but current estimates are that only about 60 percent of those receive needed services. A variety of factors contribute to the low utilization of mental health services, including stigma, being uninsured or underinsured, and lack of awareness. President Obama has called for education and training about mental health. Continue Reading →

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Being ‘the Only One’ can render one invisible

 

 

 

The little boy in the 1974 movie Claudine told James Earl Jones’ character that he wanted to be invisible. When asked why, the frustrated youngest son of Diahann Carroll’s character simply replied that since his older siblings regularly ignore him, he might just as well be invisible. This reporter can easily relate to that boy, because I too am invisible — but not because I want to be. When I became a reporter in the mid-1970s, I reluctantly accepted the experience of being snubbed as some so-called rite of passage, of paying my media dues. However, five decades-plus later, I am still getting cold shoulders too often from persons who aren’t half my age or experience and who couldn’t spell “journalist” without help from a computerized spell check. Continue Reading →

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Honoring Emil Kapaun should reflect his commitment to nonviolent

 

 

Obama presented the nephew of the Rev. Emil Kapaun with the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery. Rev. Kapaun died at the age of 35 in 1951, after spending six months in captivity during the Korean War. President Obama said, “This is the valor we honor today — an American soldier who didn’t fire a gun, but who wielded the mightiest weapon of all, a love for his brothers so pure that he was willing to die so that they might live.”

Is Obama talking about Kapaun’s love for his brothers on the North Korean team that was shooting at U.S. soldiers? Because that is what Kapaun was about; he loved and saw all men as his brothers, and that is why he would not pick up a gun. What Kapaun did is up there with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Henry David Thoreau, the great writer who refused to pay his taxes because of U.S. military violence and went to jail for it. Continue Reading →

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Judge orders mediation over McGee home foreclosure

 

 

 
Rep. Ellison joins rally to halt eviction
 
By Becky Dernbach

Contributing Writer

 

 

Last week more than 50 community members rallied in support of Rose McGee as she faced off against Fannie Mae in settlement court alleging wrongful foreclosure. When Fannie Mae still refused to offer what she considered a fair deal, the judge ordered the parties to return for further court mediation May 14. “The outcome of the court process today was very disappointing,” said Rose McGee. “The offer that Fannie has made is unreasonable. If they made a reasonable offer, I would gladly accept it. Continue Reading →

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Godfather of Black psychology identifies Black strengths needed to counter harmful impact of mass media

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

Black youth today “have a future of unknown opportunities…and need our support to get there,” said a longtime advocate for youth empowerment at a February 26 Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Black History Month event held at the MPS Davis Center. Retired psychologist Dr. Joseph White spoke to nearly 150 people on the importance of young Blacks understanding their strengths. A pioneer of culturally relevant practices in education, youth development and psychology, White was in town last week and made several appearances for Black History Month sponsored by Minneapolis-based Youthprise and the Cultural Wellness Center. “When we talk about our youth, the last remaining challenge in America is taking charge of our destiny. That is the challenge now in the 21st century,” White proclaimed, adding that Blacks have survived “two periods of Black history” in this country. Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – America in the Age of Obama

In a recent workshop held on the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul on the state and condition of America in the age of Obama, it was agreed that our president and the symbol that the presidency represents is its highest compliment, the ultimate achievement. He is credible. He qualifies to be president. Do the rest of us? Continue Reading →

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Fiscal cliff most threatening for Blacks, other communities of color

 
Effects would add more hurt to Great Recession’s impact 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Low- and moderate-income people will immediately be adversely affected if the country plunges over “the fiscal cliff” at the beginning of the year, predicts a former Obama administration member. Automatic tax hikes and spending cuts will take place unless Congress and the White House reach an agreement by December 31. Last week, on a New America Media-scheduled teleconference with reporters, including the MSR, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein said that “low-income people will feel [it] right away if we go over the fiscal cliff” on January 1.      

“Current conditions actually are very tough on low-income people,” said Bernstein. “Fifteen percent of the population are in poverty, and if you look at folk who are disproportionately low-income, African American poverty is closer to 28 percent [and] Hispanics at 25 percent. Continue Reading →

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