President Obama vows to help young black men. : ThyBlackMan

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

President Obama vows to help young black men.

February 20, 2014 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( President Barack Obama served notice in his State of the Union speech that he intends to make 2014 a year of action on his “opportunity agenda” for all the people of the U.S. For millions of black Americans and others who yearn for a better quality of life, it was refreshing and good to hear President Obama affirm that he would act independently of the Congress, when he can, on issues of minimum wage increase for federal contractors, improving the quality and access to education, job preparation, and innovations in economic development.

After watching suffering disrespect and an all-out attack on him by conservative Republicans, it was way past due time for President Obama to finally stand up to his political opponents. He stated, “After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth. The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress.”

While the national and international media focused on the President Obama’s announcement that by executive order, the minimum wage for federal contract workers would be raised to $10.10 an hour, there was another important, but little-noticed part of his address that potentiallyyoungblackmen could have a positive impact on the black American community. President Obama emphasized, “And I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.”

Young black men in the U.S. are the most disproportionately incarcerated, the victims of homicides, the largest percentage of the unemployed, and represent the highest percentage of high school dropouts. But, with the responsive leadership and commitments, allocation of resources, and outreach, encouragement, nurture and care, the negative socioeconomic situation of young black men can be turned around. President Obama also said, “The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But, we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete, and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise, unless we also do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.”

In the past, President Obama has been roundly criticized when he spoke candidly about the plight of the black family. Much was the criticism was because the president seemed to focus black imperfections while failing to hold up the same mirror to Whites. In that respect, the criticism is understandable.

But even so, the truth is we all must take a greater responsibility for the uplift of all women, men and children in all our communities. It is not just up to the president, governor, mayor or members of congress alone to fix the problems that confront our communities. We must also assume greater and more consistent responsibility for the empowerment of our people.

We are, therefore, pleased that our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have stepped up to the plate of self-responsibility on the issue of helping young black males and have endorsed a remarkably successful pilot effort led by Ronald Mason, president of the Southern University System in Louisiana entitled “Five Fifths Agenda for America.”

President Mason’s vision for this long-term program is a comprehensive approach to nurture and empower young black males. There are four underlying strategic goals of the Five Fifths Agenda:

1.To increase the number of black males that attain a bachelor degree;

2. To increase the number of black male teachers and graduates in the sciences and math;

3. HBCUs will serve as institutional homes and development centers for long-term systemic change for America; and

4. To promote, foster and facilitate a truthful, national conversation about the relationship between black men and America, both historically and contemporarily.

When President Obama referred to helping “young men of color,” I smiled because I already knew the Obama administration was actively supporting efforts to get the Five Fifths Agenda for America adequately funded. We thank President Obama not just for another great speech but also for his leadership, action and outreach to our young brothers who need to be uplifted. Lastly, we remain very grateful to President Ronald Mason, Southern University, NAFEO the White House Initiative on HBCUs for responding to this issue. 

Written By Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

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5 Responses to “President Obama vows to help young black men.”
  1. toomanygrandkids says:

    Obama can only do but so much. Young black males need to be monitored, especially the troublemakers. Obama’s unable to hold the hand of these young males and guide them through life.

  2. cicero says:

    @ Hassan…what the shot callers did was give us a “CHOICE”
    Romney, McCain, or Obama was a real selection or what Herman Cain.

    No of the Above were gonna challenge status quo. Obama and any president always has power. If they had the balls too…maybe the American People would be better off… Obama and all others have been to scare of challenging BIG MONEY.

    JFK was the last President to challenged BIG MONEY/BANK,,, see what happened
    Abe Lincoln challenged BIG MONEY… what happened

    We are supposed to believe in the magic bullet and One Lone Gunman…like they were just pissin one person off before there death…Yeah right…lol

    So do you think Obama willing to challenge big Money/ Federal Reserve, and put his life on the line…. he ain’t he’s got everything to lose and the gain must not be worth it.

    Good thing is the Clinton years are coming back…and big money is keeping lots of capital on the sideline…. only 2 more years… Economy Boom otw so cheer up…its all smoke and mirrors….

    Eat, drink, and be merry friends

  3. hassan aziz says:

    the POTUS has shown himself to be the most lying, underhanded, deceitful cracker of them all. we have heard of the white devil, well here he is, just with a little skin pigmentation. the shot callers played us real good.

  4. cicero says:

    Obama full of ish….

    Let me get this right… Now.. after 5yrs you wanna help us get Into school. OK. But Mr. Obama you do more black males are attending college… Its been going on the last 50 plus years.

    OK cool you want to help in an area that is getting better rather then in an area that is decrepit (MIDDLE CLASS BLUE COLLAR pls HOLLA).

    We got a large number of individuals with non violent criminal histories…might be a good idea to sign an executive order to ban Background checks from revealing 8 yr old weed poss charges.

    Or prohibit credit checks…knowing the credit industry has been racially motivated when determining rates and scores. HR managers use these numbers to hire, and if these numbers are the basis plus rigged, we are screwed… Proofs in the pudding…don’t believe me…whats unemployment in the black community??? Just another tool in the shed at the least…

    Maybe you could Really lean on some of the Goldman Sach & Morgan Stanley Gang that pulls ya strings… Thanks for healthcare… Hillary said she had to throw the guy a bone… taking over during the worst economic period in a while….

    Before we got jobs you wanted to give us Healthcare…


    talk about pullin the cart before carriage..Pis poor philosophy n that’s why its really such a headache…

  5. Gina Oliveri says:

    Very promising, but the bottom line is that the man in the mirror. Also, it’s a spiritual issue. I acknowledge that most young folks of color are at risk, and I have many many concerns, as I see my 25 year old daughter, and 23 year old daughter blinded by the ever present less than low expectations this society is blasting them with. It’s a sickness that pulsates through the air we breathe. I pray for these young people and I am not saying that rhetorically. I am saying that with HOPE. I am not African American, however, my seeds are, as well as my beautiful grandchildren. Therefore, this issue does pertain to me. I also have a 21 year old son, whom I see less blinded, however grew up without a positive male African American roll model. (His/their father,a U.S. Army veteran who was kicked out of the military after returning home from Saudi Arabia, due to his drug and alcohol problems, has been in and out of prison for the past 18 years. I am grateful that President Obama has addressed this issue for our future leaders to see in writing that, yes, the people of color will perish in a kaleidoscope of confusion and lack of urgency, if nothing changes.

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