When it comes to looking out for the economic interest of Black Americans do you think that the Obama administration is doing too much, too little or the right amount?
In the upcoming months, someone is going to tap you to 1) make a donation, 2) volunteer, and or 3) vote for people and platforms that best represent you and your views. Don't let the past be prologue in this instance, in that history influences and sets the context for the future. This time around why don't we demand that all candidates present a "Black Agenda" with specific ways to improve the lives of Blacks in America to get our 2012 vote?
It's not like Blacks don't need someone to look out for our interests. The wealth gap between Whites and Blacks continues to increase. Reports say the annual median income ($32,584) for Black Americans is going down and the number among those living in poverty (26 percent) is headed up. And, who in our representative form of government is trying to change that? In representative politics, elected "representatives" are supposed to stand up for us and "represent our interest." Exactly who is representing Blacks' interests in this representative democracy?
We need a bona fide "Black agenda" to address a range of difficult social problems which still plague Black America. Under the guise of collective advancement we should ask ourselves: "What's wrong with critics like Tavis Smiley requesting that Obama publicly announce his thoughts and policies regarding a Black agenda. As if the subject is debatable, a chorus of Black leaders who include such as the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, National Urban League's Marc Morial and the NAACP'S Ben Jealous have give President Obama cover saying that "he doesn't need a Black agenda."
What has Obama done for you lately? Here's what's important: The issues of concern to Black Americans have to be put on paper and sent to your representative in Congress as well as to the city, county and state councils where you live. We suggest you make use of the following concepts to let them know your legislative agenda.
The Black Agenda 2012
We want you to:
Promote educational reinvestment in low- income and disadvantaged African American communities
- Guarantee child care assistance to low-income families and promote early education
- Improve student achievement and graduation rates for low income and minority children, with special emphasis on science and technology education and training opportunities.
- Expand college access by simplifying and expanding Pell Grant opportunities and increasing support for Historically Black College and Universities
- Connect disadvantaged youth to after-school and summer programs, job training and employment.
Increase Access to Economic Security
- Increase unemployment assistance.
- Increase funding for education, job training, and small business opportunities for low- income and minority communities.
Eliminate Health Disparities
- Provide and fully fund programs to increase minority representation at all levels of the health profession
- Address and ensure that the impact of research and all health related provisions in minority communities is assessed through data collection, disaggregation and analysis.
Provide Equitable Housing Options
- Support comprehensive public housing reform and expansion of the Section 8 housing voucher programs
- Protect renters, especially those affected by housing foreclosures
- Prevent foreclosures by increasing the number of loan modifications.
- Stop predatory lending, foreclosure rescue fraud and general housing discrimination practices.
Strengthen Civil Rights and Judicial Reform
- Provide opportunities for individuals with criminal records and their reintegration into their respective communities.
- Eliminate sentencing disparities
- Stop the cradle to prison pipeline
Address Global Poverty
- Continue Millennium Development goals to end poverty.
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality
- Reduce infant mortality and improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Expand trade and development assistance
Are you any better off than you were in 2008? If, not, you may want to incorporate these concepts into your agenda.
William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via BaileyGroup.org