Obama Addresses Range of Issues Facing Black America

Black Enterprise takes part in exclusive news conference on Air Force One

One question from a reporter dealt with recent comments from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele that the President needs to offer specific policies to help African Americans. After stating that Steele should focus on the GOP’s agenda, he maintained that “the most urgent job for us has to make sure that the economy gets back on track because African Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the contraction of the economy.They have been most severely affected by loss of jobs, foreclosures and loss of health care.” He expects large numbers of African Americans to benefit through his newly-formed White House Office of Urban Affairs that would focus on employment, housing, education and entrepreneurship in American cities. And he shared with other reporters that the pending health care reform bill would shrink the number of uninsured and, in turn, will reduce the prevalence of such diseases as HIV/AIDS in the black community.

But as the President eloquently stated in his speech to more than 8,000 attendees of the NAACP dinner, young African American will advance through a collective effort to attack “long-term structural inequalities” related to “substandard schools, and communities where jobs are far and few between, and a lack of access to decent health care for mothers and children all the way through the end of life.” To remedy this dire situation, he asserted that “the more we can focus on economic parity, economic development, job creation, schools that work, access to higher education, the more I think we can continue to close the gap.”

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