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Feb 22, 2013

Readout of the President's Meeting with African American Leaders

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 22, 2013

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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.

Participants include:

  • Melanie Campbell, President, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation
  • Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network
  • Avis Jones-DeWeever, Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women
  • Ben Jealous, President, National Association of the Advancement of Colored People
  • Rev Derrick Harkins, 19th Street Baptist Church
  • Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director, Advancement Project
  • Ralph Everett, President, Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies
  • Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition
  • Wade Henderson, President, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
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