President Obama

Recent Articles

My Brother’s Keeper: Trauma must be part of conversation on helping Black males

Black History Month has come and gone once again. I hope that folks learned something useful and constructive during this period. Oftentimes, I believe as Black people we forget that everything we do today is making Black history. Sadly, we think about what would be in the history books 50 years from now based on current events — the major events would be the election of President Obama, the murder of Trayvon Martin, and maybe even the first openly gay professional athletes being Black as well. However, I do not think these things encompass what we know Black history is about today. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

The great divide of income inequality: a domestic crisis on the world’s stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“Income inequality” has become the political buzzword of 2014. President Obama, most recently in last week’s State of the Union Address, has made it a central theme of his second term. Both progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans in Congress are making it a focus of this year’s mid-term elections, and leading voices for human rights have called on government and business leaders to take immediate action to close the income gap for the sake of long-term economic and social stability. Two weeks ago, as the world’s elite — leaders from government, business and NGO sectors — gathered in Davos for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting, the issue of inequality was atop the agenda. WEF’s Global Risks 2014 report recently revealed that the “chronic gap between the incomes of the richest and poorest citizens is seen as the risk that is most likely to cause serious damage globally in the coming decade.”

Another voice was added to the chorus when the British-based anti-poverty organization, Oxfam International, released a report in advance of the Davos gathering, revealing that the richest 85 people in the world control as much wealth as the bottom half of the global population – about 3.5 billion people. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Local civil rights leader Matthew Little passes

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

Matt Little is gone, leaving a legendary legacy. He was widely renowned and will be well remembered as a Civil Rights Era icon who held a soul-deep commitment to empowering the African American community. Graduating North Carolina A&T State University in 1948, he relocated to the Twin Cities and, in 1954 became a board member of the Minneapolis NAACP, beginning a lifelong dedication to the organization. During his career, he was president of that chapter as well as president of the Minnesota state NAACP. Far from being a figurehead, Little was hands-on and counted among his most prized memories filing a federal lawsuit to integrate the Minneapolis Fire Department. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

America’s Great Outdoors initiative connects kids and vets to environmental jobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers

 

President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in April 2010 establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and reconnect Americans to the outdoors. The memorandum calls for collaboration among the Departments of Interior and Agriculture as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House’s own Council on Environmental Quality in leading the initiative. Eight other federal agencies play a supporting role, and literally thousands of other partners from state, local and tribal governments, nonprofits and the private sector are involved as well. Getting young people, especially city kids, into the outdoors to experience our country’s unique natural heritage is a top priority of America’s Great Outdoors. Before pursuing any specific strategies, initiative leaders solicited feedback from everyday Americans as to what mattered most to them regarding conservation and access to the outdoors. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Robin Roberts loosens the grip of Black homophobia

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I will continue to argue that the African American community doesn’t have a patent on homophobia, it does, however, have a problem with it. Black homophobia still has a deadly hold on African American life. And while I would like to say its oppressive grip only impacts lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of African descent, in truth, Black homophobia maims the entire community. For example, to date more than a quarter of a million African Americans have died of AIDS — both straight and gay. There are many persistent social and economic factors contributing to the high rates of the epidemic in the African American community —racism, poverty, healthcare disparity, violence, to name just a few — but the biggest attitudinal factor still contributing to the epidemic and showing no sign of abating is homophobia. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Looking at 2013, through real eyes

We wish to convey to all of our readers and the staff at the Spokesman Recorder all the best for a bright future. Our last column of 2013 ended with “We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who proved a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites.”

In this first column of 2014, we celebrate another Black man, Barack Obama, who has moved beyond proving that a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites; he proves that a Black man can be president of the most powerful country in history. Although some say President Barack Obama is a lame duck president, a failure with no legacy, we disagree. “Lame duck” is shorthand by ivory tower public policy academics who don’t get out from behind their lecterns but still think they should be in charge. For example, President Obama has succeeded with health care where all, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, failed (Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter each wrote in their last books that Ted, for his own purposes killed health care under both Nixon and Carter). Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Is President Obama a ‘lame duck’?

You be the judge
 
In the last 20 days, discussion on both the left and the right has been about the failures of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the real name of what both sides call “Obamacare,” long a term of pride for Democrats and one of derision for Republicans, and now one of confusion for both. With the elections of 2014 and 2016 looming, both parties are nervous, with the most scared trying to summarize it all in the term “lame duck.” This is another way for both sides to not address the problems they fear: health care, education, housing, immigration, foreign affairs, entitlement programs, etc. “Lame duck” won’t work. Obama has the courage and determination to persevere. One of two things will happen to the ACA: (1) repealed and replaced, or (2) kept but greatly modified. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,