Black Leaders Share Agenda with President Obama

During President Obama’s administration, many critics have accused Black Leaders of not stepping up to the plate in sharing major concerns of the black community with the president because he was a person of color.

blackagenda 0088a

I appreciate Dr. Boyce Watkin’s comment in his article, “Host Who Received “Cease and Desist” Order from Tavis Smiley speaks with Roland Martin, Tom Joyner”, “Since 2008, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Cornel West, Father Michael Pfleger and even I have clearly stated that the president and Congress must address the following issues: Violence, mass incarceration, black unemployment, poverty and unequal educational systems. Not only have these recommendations been made on a consistent basis, they were accompanied by specific policy avenues through which these matters could be addressed.”

There were meetings (at least) in 2010, 2011 and recently in 2012 which included Marc Morial, president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League; Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network; Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

As cited in, “Leaders Craft a Black Agenda for President Obama”, “Morial summarized five priorities that would be fleshed out in the new agenda:

• Achieve economic parity for African-Americans.
• Promote equity in educational opportunity.
• Protect and defend voting rights.
• Promote a healthier nation by eliminating healthcare disparities.
• Achieve comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system.

Over forty African-American leaders were represented from newspapers, grassroots organizations, historical groups such as the Southern Christian Leadership President, Charles Steele and more. TV One’s Roland Martin even tried interrogating Rev. Sharpton and Marc Morial to find out how far were they willing to go to get results from the president. They wouldn’t “peep their cards”, but said there will be another meeting early next year with the president and all of congress.

We could spend time criticizing the leaders, the meetings or the agenda, however I think such criticism would be misplaced. I choose to focus on how we can 1. support this agenda  2. suggest change to the agenda  3. caucus to produce our own agenda and/or 4. take action to move this agenda forward. I’m for building up, collaborating and focusing on producing results. In all honesty, the question is not, what Tavis or Cornel is or isn’t doing; or what President Barack Obama and our leaders are or are not doing. The prevailing question we must honestly ask ourselves, is “What are WE doing to help ourselves, our schools, our churches and our communities? What say you?

Also see, “Bob Johnson to President Obama, “Black Joblessness Needs to be Tackled Head-On”.

About Bren Martin

Brenda is an education advocate and has been an active leader in the schools, church and community. She is a National PTA Social Media Ambassador and was a Panelist on NBC's Education Nation in New York City, "Stepping Up: The Power of a Parent Advocate," for Parenting Magazine. Brenda was honored by the U. S. Department of Education and the White House as a “Champion of Change” for educational advocacy. She is Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress-Kentucky delegate and a recipient of Knowledge Universe-KinderCare’s Education Achievement Award! (See Parenting Magazine’s, “The Power and Potential of Parent Advocates,“ and one of Brenda’s articles, “Changing Us, Changes Them.“) Some of her services include: District PTA President and State PTA Board; Education Commissioner's Steering Committee for Teacher Effectiveness. She is a former regional President, Gifted Education; Summer Camp Creator/Director; Church Youth Director; Vacation Bible School Director; Prichard Committee’s Commonwealth of Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL) Fellow; School Based Decision Making; Employability Skills Consultant to prison & colleges; Television Special host and more. Also, Follow Brenda on Twitter @bdrumartin. Disclaimer: Use sites, blogs, information or links at your own risk.
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5 Responses to Black Leaders Share Agenda with President Obama

  1. Pingback: Emerging Minority Leadership | Debate and Switch's Blog

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  3. Weslin1 says:

    Tavis has been mad at Obama ever since Tavis held one of his symposiums and the then candidate Obama did not attend it. Tavis is ego tripping or something mad that he could not get any credit for Obama first and certainly not President Obama campaign wins. So someone needs to tell Tavis quit ego tripping.


    • Bren Martin says:

      I have to admit Weslin1, I noticed that too. Michelle Obama even offered to come to his program on her husband’s behalf and reportedly,Tavis Smiley said NO! (Ref I became very disappointed with that attitude. I don’t know if this was the case, but some folks, thinking they are so high on the totem pole, can possibly resent it when someone else seemingly shoots out of nowhere, such as a lone senator from Illinois, and show that people of color can go even higher and yes, higher than some clinging tightly to their place on that totem pole. Some people can get very infatuated with the “power” they think they have and when they can’t order you about or get you to bow to them, they often seek to destroy your program to show their power or influence. This is unfortunate “if” it were the case. Recognizing that I don’t have all of the facts, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt as they could have established some good intentions and good impact.

      Regardless of all of that, let’s focus on solutions to poverty in our country. This is real! We need more jobs, training, education, small business development, financial management, crime control and more! Poverty, along with other burdens, is hurting our children’s education, health, healthcare, crime and more. We have so much work to do and each of us must do what we can to help! Children who are not reading at grade level by the third grade escalates the likelihood that they will not graduate from high school by the age of 19, increase their probability of dropping out, becoming a single parent, having a life of poverty and being incarcerated. For low-income students this likelihood increases from 4 to 13 TIMES!! Read my post, School-to-Prison Pipeline,


  4. Weslin1 says:

    President Obama, has made it easier for everyone to go to college, how many black people has taken advantage of this opportunity? We all know that congress has tried to tie Obama’s has at anything he has tried to get done. So think about any special promises he is going to get congress to approve for black folks.


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