05-26-2017  9:16 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Portland Art Museum Hosts Upstanders Festival May 27

Event includes spoken word, workshops and poster making in support of social justice ...

North Portland Library Announces June Computer Classes

Upcoming courses include Introduction to Spreadsheets, What is the Cloud? and Learn Programming with Games ...

Merkley to Hold Town Hall in Clackamas County

Sen. Jeff Merkley to hold town hall in Clackamas County, May 30 ...

NAACP Monthly Meeting Notice, May 27, Portland

NAACP Portland invites the community to its monthly general membership meeting ...

Photos: Fundraiser for Sunshine Division's Assistance Programs

Under the Stars fundraiser took place on May 18 at the Melody Grand Ballroom ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ensuring the Promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act

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CFPB Sues Ocwen Financial over Unfair Mortgage Practices

What many homeowners soon discover is that faithfully paying a monthly mortgage is in some cases, just not enough ...

B-CU Grads Protest Betsy “DeVoid” in Epic Fashion

Julianne Malveaux says that Betsy “DeVoid,” is no Mary McLeod Bethune ...

NAACP on Supreme Court's Decline to Review NC Voter ID Law

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks made the following remarks ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Civil rights icon Vernon Jordan awards honorary doctorate of law degree to President Barack Obama; Cheriss May

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama told the graduates of one of the nation’s leading historically black universities that America is "a better place today" than it was when he graduated from college, but more work needs to be done and urged them to be involved in the political process if they want to see change.

"When you don't vote, you give away your power," Obama said told the more than 2,300 graduates of Howard University. "Change is the effort of committed citizens ... Change requires more than speaking out; it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise."

Obama howard 2

 

Photo: Valerie Jarrett, Vernon Jordan, President Barack Obama, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Also attending the Howard commencement event were the president's longtime adviser Valerie Jarrett, civil rights activist and business leader Vernon Jordan, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. 

Obama received with an honorary doctorate of law degree from the university. It was presented by civil rights icon Vernon Jordan.

 

Obama speaksPHOTO: President Obama speaks to Howard graduates.

Under overcast sky and the constant threat of rain, Obama told the graduates and their families that there were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and few black judges when he received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University in 1983.

"A lot of folks didn't even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback," he said. "When I was a graduate, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T."
Today, he said, "we're producers, studio executives. We're no longer small-business owners, we're CEOs. We're mayors, representatives.

He said there is still work for Howard’s graduates and others to do.

"Racism persists, inequality persists,” he said.

Obama Howard crowdPHOTO: Howard University graduates cheer the president's speech

The president cited income inequality, as well as disparities in unemployment, pay and criminal justice. Disease and conflict worldwide, along with new challenges from terrorism and climate change are also problems that need to be addressed, he said.

"So, make no mistake Class of 2016, you've got plenty of work to do," he said. “So, enjoy the party, because you're going to be busy."

 

All photos by Cheriss May, Howard University News Service.

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