ABOVE PHOTO: An Ofﬁcial White House photo of the event.
(OWHP by Pete Souza)
WASHINGTON, DC – Joint Center President and CEO Ralph B. Everett joined a meeting of prominent African American leaders at the White House yesterday to continue a discussion with President Barack Obama on his plans to strengthen the middle class and provide opportunities for those living in poverty, particularly African Americans and people of color.
Topics covered included an increase in job training and investment in disadvantaged neighborhoods, preventing voter suppression, and President Obama’s plan for universal pre-kindergarten to narrow the educational achievement gap. There was also a strong focus on the potential sequester, a set of automatic federal budget cuts that would end thousands of jobs and cut social services.
“The meeting was a positive, constructive exchange of views,” Everett said. “The President fully understands the concerns of the African American community and has set forth a sensible plan to continue America’s economic recovery. We look forward to working with him to strengthen the economy for the middle class and continue to build more ladders of opportunity for those trying to get there.”
The official readout from the White House can be found below.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
February 22, 2013
The President met with African American leaders yesterday in the Roosevelt Room at the White House to continue their dialogue on his plan to strengthen the economy for the middle class and continue to build ladders of opportunity for those striving to get there. The President reiterated his commitment to supporting policies that will directly impact those hardest hit by the economic crisis by making sure that America is a magnet for jobs, increasing access to job training programs, partnering with high-poverty communities to help them rebuild, and encouraging companies to invest in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The President also reiterated his call to reform education by expanding universal pre-K for every child as a way to significantly decrease the achievement gap.
The President and the leaders expressed a shared concern about the need to implement common-sense improvements to the voting process because our democracy works best when every American eligible to vote has the opportunity to cast their ballot and make their voices heard.
The President called on the leaders to continue the national dialogue on the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. He stressed the harm that the automatic cuts known as the sequester will have on thousands of jobs while cutting services to children, seniors, mental wellness programs, small businesses, and those in our military.
The President praised the participants for their steadfast leadership on a broad range of issues critical to improving the economy and strengthening our country. The leaders in attendance also highlighted their goals to continue to build momentum for Congress to act in the best interests of the American people by supporting policies that help move our country forward.
Melanie Campbell, President, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation Ralph Everett, President, Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies Wade Henderson, President, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Ben Jealous, President, National Association of the Advancement of Colored People Avis Jones-DeWeever, Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network Rev. Derrick Harkins, 19th Street Baptist Church Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director, Advancement Project
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation’s leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. To learn more, please visit www.jointcenter.org.