This February, during National African American History Month, we reflect on “Civil Rights in America,” and celebrate historic achievements and foot soldiers, well-known and unknown, who fought to secure rights long denied. But as we take stock of how far we have come, we also recognize how far we still have to go and the responsibility we all share to make our Nation more equal and more just in our time.
Throughout the month, the Obama Administration has touted the successes of African Americans and brought awareness to many issues affecting the community. We partnered with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, highlighted the work of Carter G. Woodson, met with civil rights leaders, and shined a spotlight on health in the African American community and the Affordable Care Act. See below to read more about what the Administration has been up to in February.
For more information about how the White House is working with the African American community, visit WhiteHouse.gov/AfricanAmericans where you can access the latest blog posts, videos, and more.
don’t forget to check out the President’s Proclamation for National African American History Month.
Heather Foster Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement Africanamericans@who.eop.gov
We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month
African Americans are making significant contributions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). But still we need to make sure that today’s African American students also see themselves as tomorrow’s discoverers, explorers, developers, and STEM innovators.”
Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. ET, we’re hosting “We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month” — a Google+ Hangout with some of our foremost African American STEM innovators and education advocates.
And we want you to join.
RSVP for tomorrow’s “We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month.”
President Barack Obama talks with Evan Jackson, 10, Alec Jackson, 8, and Caleb Robinson, 8, from McDonough, Ga., while looking at exhibits at the White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room, April 22, 2013. The sports-loving grade-schoolers created a new product concept to keep athletes cool and helps players maintain safe body temperatures on the field. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Partnering for Action in African American Communities
Leaders from some of the country’s foremost African American civil rights organizations joined President Obama and a handful of Administration leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday, February 18. To open the meeting, Valerie Jarrett was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, and White House Advisor for Health Policy and Implementation Phil Schiliro for a discussion outlining the President’s priorities for this year of action.
Present were leaders from the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Bar Association and the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation. The group covered a range of issues of great concern to the President, and the African American community, touching on job growth, education and job training, maintaining our momentum in enrolling the uninsured through the Affordable Care Act, bringing more fairness and efficiency to our criminal justice system, increasing the minimum wage, and ensuring ladders of opportunity for all.
See more from last week’s meeting.
President Barack Obama meets with African American civil rights leaders to discuss criminal justice reform, income inequality and the Affordable Care Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Feb. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) February 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo)
Sharpening Our Focus to Meet National Goals on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
As we observed National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) 2014 on February 7, we were reminded that African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Among African Americans, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (Black MSM) are especially hard hit, representing more than half of all estimated new HIV infections among African Americans each year. A particularly disconcerting estimate in 2010 showed that young Black MSM aged 13 to 24 accounted for the greatest number (4,800) of estimated new HIV infections among African Americans.
Both individually and collectively we are called to be even more thoughtful, creative, and focused about actions we can undertake to strengthen HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment for Black MSM in communities across the United States.
Among Federal programs, several important activities are underway to help those affected by HIV/AIDS:
- Increasing the capacity, quality, and effectiveness of HIV/AIDS service providers to serve Black MSM
- Promoting and supporting HIV testing among Black MSM
- Supporting engagement in HIV care
- Strengthening state efforts for Black MSM
- Supporting Implementation Research
Click here to read more.
Champion of African American History: Carter G. Woodson
In the fall of 1870, a handful of students made their way through the northwest quadrant of the nation’s capital, and through the doors of D.C.’s “Preparatory High School for Colored Youth,” the country’s first public high school for African American children. The students and teachers who graced its hallways would be heard through the years in the halls of Congress, in the highest ranks of the United States military, at the heart of our civil rights movement, and in the upper echelons of medical and scientific study.
One such voice was that of Carter G. Woodson; a journalist, author, historian, and co-founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). It was through his work with the ASNLH that Woodson spearheaded the celebration of “Negro History Week” in America, which served as the precursor to Black History Month, which was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. Woodson taught us that, “those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”
Find out more about Carter G. Woodson.
Challenges and Progress: Black History Month & Affordable Health Care
As we join with President Obama in making 2014 a Year of Action, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius invited the public to participate in a Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5 to discuss the progress and challenges related to health and human services in the African American community. She was joined by Shavon Arline, the National Health Director for the NAACP, as well as a 28-year-old Tampa resident who is getting covered through the Health Insurance Marketplace for only $15 a month.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are obtaining quality, affordable health care coverage—many for the first time. Yet, we still face shocking—and unacceptable—health disparities. African Americans are 55 percent more likely to be uninsured than white Americans. African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, and 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure. And the infant mortality rate among African Americans is more than twice that of non-Hispanic whites.
Click here to read more.
National African American History Month 2014: Civil Rights in America
Progress in America has never come easy. Through centuries of struggle and hard-won victories, our country has been shaped by generations of Americans who believed this could be the Nation envisioned in our founding principles —a nation where all are treated equal, and all are free to pursue their dreams. With the leadership and resilience of African Americans, who have tirelessly championed these principles throughout our history, our Union continues to move forward toward a stronger, more just future for all.
This National African American History Month, as we reflect on “Civil Rights in America,” we celebrate historic achievements and foot soldiers, well-known and unknown, who fought to secure rights long denied. But as we hail our successes as a nation, we also acknowledge that there is more work to be done. We still have more to do to ensure every American has access to the health care they need at a price they can afford. We must keep fighting until every worker knows the stability of a fair wage, every family has access to ladders of opportunity into the middle class, and every young person gets a world-class education to prepare them for tomorrow’s jobs.
The Obama Administration has made strides in restoring opportunity for all Americans, and throughout the month of February we have highlighted healthcare, economic mobility, young men of color, and the impact of STEM as creating pathways of success and security for African Americans.
Click here to read more.