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Black History Month Must Yield Results, Not Just Reflections, in 2014

In Articles on February 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm

5 years after a noteworthy shift in politics for African-Americans, Black History Month must be fruitful, not just reflective, to garner better times ahead

NEW YORK CITY / PITTSBURGH  (February 3, 2014) 

“5 years ago heading into Black History Month, African-Americans had a deep sense of political optimism with hope riding at a level never reached before. Black Baby Boomers had reached the pinnacle of their respective political parties. Barack Obama had become the first African-American president in the nation’s history, affording him the de facto role as top of the Democratic Party as well. Michael Steele had endured a 6-round vote at the RNC Winter Meeting to become the first African-American head of the Republican Party. I even focused my Fox Monday Morning commentary on this unique opportunity heading into February 2009.
“Yet, 5 years later, the Republicans’ relationship with Black voters is hardly any better, chronicled in part by President Obama’s near-record percentage of the Black vote again in 2012 as African-Americans voted at a higher clip than any other ethnic group nationally. For the president, the past 5 years hasn’t been any rosier, as official numbers for Black unemployment once approached 20% under his watch with unofficial numbers for Black male adults and Black youth joblessness hitting depression-era levels. From comments by Attorney General Eric Holder in February 2009 to the “take off your bedroom slippers…put on your marching shoes…” statement from the president himself as he geared up for his re-election bid – all alongside events such as the Trayvon Martin tragedy and others – this president has not bridged Black America over recent troubled waters.
“With this all in the rear view mirror along with the tough roads of high unemployment, large education and economic disparities, and the New Jim Crow threatening Black youth in an ongoing fashion, now is not the time for President Obama, leading Black politicians and civil rights leaders, or the rest of America to merely reflect upon the accomplishments of those of African-American descent during the month of February.

“Tangible goals that elevate the cumulative GPA of Black students across the nation by 0.5 of a grade point should be put into place by Black leaders and educators, giving us a new standard of excellence to shoot towards over the next 5-10 years. This modest goal, if accomplished, would provide America a newly-capable pool of talent that is active in the pursuit of academic prowess and life-changing innovation. Tangible goals that encourage business investment in urban areas and a rise in Black entrepreneurship over the next 5 years can shift the focus from spreading wealth in America to growing wealth across the diversity of America. This new reality would impact the abilities of fathers and mothers to maintain economic optimism and family stability for their children as we seek to overcome the lingering effects of the Great Recession.”

Read “Black History Month Must Yield Results, Not Just Reflections, in 2014” on Global Grind .