RYM TYM Radio/TV Talk Show

  • HONORING Black History Month of 2015 PLUS Individual Freedom, Justice and Equality for ALL

    “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

    Voting Rights

    “Defending our freedom, though, is not just the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental right of a democracy: the right to vote. When any American, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right because they can’t afford to wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals.”

    No right is more central to our notion of citizenship and democracy than the right to vote. As our democracy grows and technology advances, we must make every effort to keep pace the modern electorate and decrease barriers to casting a ballot.

    For more than 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision invalidating one of its core provisions upset long-standing authority that helped to preserve the right to vote for all Americans, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent. President Obama has called on Congress to pass legislation in response to the Court’s decision and ensure every American has equal access to the polls.

    In the meantime, this Administration will also continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process and expand access to the ballot. Working with state and local governments, there are steps we can take to keep voting fair and accessible to all Americans. The Justice Department has taken on more than 100 voting rights cases since 2009, and they’ve defended the rights of everybody from African Americans to Spanish speakers to soldiers serving overseas. In March 2013, the President established the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, chaired by Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsburg. At the beginning of 2014, the Commission met with the President and delivered a report recommending common-sense strategies such as expanded early voting and online registration to reduce barriers to voting. We continue to encourage States and local election boards to take up those recommendations.

    Strengthening Protection Against Discrimination

    Equal Pay

    The first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which empowers women to recover wages lost to discrimination by extending the time period in which an employee can file a claim. The President continues to advocate for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, common sense legislation that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination. And President Obama convened a National Equal Pay Task Force to ensure that existing equal pay laws are fully enforced. The Task Force has helped women recover millions in lost wages, built collaborative training programs that educate employees about their rights and inform employers of their obligations, and facilitated an unprecedented level of inter-agency coordination to improve enforcement of equal pay laws.

    In April 2014, the President signed two executive actions strengthening equal pay laws: an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation and a Presidential Memorandum instructing the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race. The Department of Labor will use the data to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to target enforcement more effectively.

    The Justice System

    Criminal and Juvenile Justice

    The President is leading the fight to build a fairer and more equitable criminal justice system. On August 3, 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduces the disparity in the amounts of powder cocaine and crack cocaine required to trigger certain penalties in the federal system, including imposition of mandatory minimum sentences.

    The President continues to support funding for drug courts, which give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, if appropriate, in drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than prison terms in changing behavior.

    In 2012, the White House convened an interagency working group focused on Children of Incarcerated Parents (COIP), to evaluate the federal programs and policies that impact the now more than 2.7 million children who have a parent in prison. In June of 2013, the working group partnered with Sesame Street, to honor Champions of Change who are helping scores of children and their families by minimizing the potential negative impacts of having a parent who is incarcerated and announced a number of new Federal programs, including a web portal.

    In 2013, Attorney General Holder launched the Smart on Crime initiative to ensure federal laws are enforced more fairly and efficiently. As a result, the Department of Justice is working to modify its charging policies with regard to mandatory minimum sentences for certain federal low-level, drug-related offenses, improve diversion and reentry policies, strengthen protections for the most vulnerable populations, and increase investments to build stronger and safer communities.

    In June 2014, The White House released a fact sheet announcing a package of administrative actions and hosted a day-long event focused on expanding employment opportunities for individuals previously involved with the criminal justice system. The program, co-hosted with the Council of State Governments, included a roundtable moderated by Labor Secretary Tom Perez with business executives to discuss ways government can support private sector efforts to recruit and hire individuals with a criminal record. Attorney General Eric Holder, along with other federal officials and best-selling author Piper Kerman (Orange is the New Black), honored sixteen Champions of Change doing extraordinary work to facilitate employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.

    Access to Justice

    In March 2010, the Attorney General with the support of the President launched the Access to Justice Initiative (ATJ) to address the access-to-justice crisis in the criminal and civil justice system. ATJ works within the Department of Justice, across federal agencies, and with state, local and tribal justice system stakeholders to increase access to counsel and legal assistance.

    Since 2011, the Justice Department has committed more than $24 million in grants, new initiatives, and other forms of direct assistance to educate, train and equip lawyers to provide quality indigent defense representation.

    In April 2012, the President made clear that making civil legal assistance available to low-income Americans is “central to our notion of equal justice under the law” and pledged to be a “fierce defender and advocate” for legal services. Since then, the White House and Justice Department have co-convened the Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, which brings together seventeen federal agencies to raise awareness about the profound impact legal aid programs can have in supporting vulnerable populations. In April 2014, the Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable released a Toolkit, designed to provide a roadmap for serving vulnerable and underserved populations.

    Youth Violence

    Combatting youth violence is a White House priority. In 2009, President Obama directed the Justice Department to launch the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which brings together a network of communities and federal agencies to reduce youth violence and gang activity, share information, build local capacity and improve public safety. The Forum has expanded beyond its six original cities to a total of 15.

    In 2010, the Administration launched the Defending Childhood Initiative to leverage federal resources to prevent, address and reduce the harmful impact of childhood exposure to violence.

    In 2011, the Administration established the Supportive School Discipline Initiative to address the school-to-prison pipeline. In April 2012, the White House Champions of Change Program honored twelve leaders working to prevent youth violence in their communities.

    As a result, the Departments of Education and Justice released guidance to schools on how to implement non-discriminatory school discipline policies. In 2014, the Council of State Governments released a multi-stakeholder report, funded by the Departments of Justice and Education, providing further recommendations to dismantle the pipeline.

    Human Trafficking

    To strengthen the U.S. Government’s existing zero-tolerance policy on human trafficking in government contracting, the President issued an Executive Order that outlines prohibitions on trafficking-related activities that will apply to all federal contractors and subcontractors, requires compliance measures for large overseas contracts and subcontracts, and provides federal agencies with additional tools to foster compliance.

    In January 2014, the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking in Persons released the first-ever Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States. The plan outlines a five-year path for increased coordination, collaboration, and capacity across the federal government and in partnership with other governmental and nongovernmental entities at all levels.

    In July 2014, the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center completed the first-ever domestic human trafficking assessment to track trends within the United States to help law enforcement, policymakers and other federal stakeholders improve efforts to prevent and combat trafficking.

    The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has focused its efforts on galvanizing the faith-based community to combat human trafficking, raise awareness and provide services. The Advisory Council continues to implement the ten recommendations to the President to strengthen the partnerships.

    Empowerment Through Diversity

    “What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great.”

    President Obama believes that our nation derives strength from the diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunity for all. That’s why we’ve made diversity and inclusion a top priority inside this administration and throughout the federal government. “With liberty and justice for all” lies at the heart of the President’s policy agenda. On the night of his re-election, the President stated “I believe we can keep the promise of our founding -- the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or where you love -- it doesn’t matter whether you're black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight -- you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”

    In August 2011, the President signed an Executive Order announcing a government-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce. He directed executive departments and agencies to focus on diversity and inclusion as a key component of their human resources strategies, and instructed that the agencies both promote diversity and remove barriers to equal employment opportunity. To implement the President’s diversity initiative, The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a government-wide diversity and inclusion strategic plan, and related guidance. OPM has conducted more than 40 trainings on the development of agency-specific strategic plans and on the government-wide diversity and inclusion initiative.

    Americans with Disabilities

    Nearly a quarter century ago, our Nation passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights bill. The first nation on earth to comprehensively declare equality for its citizens with disabilities; we enshrined into law the promise of equal access, equal opportunity, and equal respect for every American. Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have worked to toughen the protections against disability-based discrimination, increase accessibility in our communities, expand employment opportunities and increase financial independence for people with disabilities, especially our wounded warriors and those with serious disabilities.

    In July 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order, increasing federal employment of individuals with disabilities, and committed the Executive Branch to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in the Federal workforce.

    In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized the vital priority of equipping Americans with the skills needed to realize the economic opportunity that a renewed American economy could provide and set the goal of making America’s workforce and training system “more job-driven, integrated and effective.” Two days later, he signed a Presidential Memorandum on Job-Driven Training to signal his commitment to supporting programs that more effectively prepare workers, including those with disabilities, for high-growth, high-demand careers.

    On March 24, 2014, the new Section 503 Affirmative Action Regulations became effective and, for the first time, established a 7% utilization goal for individuals with disabilities. The regulations also require increased data collection & record keeping to improve employer accountability. The Administration has also launched the Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative, a cross-agency effort working to increase equal employment opportunities and financial independence for individuals with disabilities.

    Additionally, on July 22, 2014, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law, placing significant new responsibilities on several Cabinet-level agencies for increasing the employment of individuals with disabilities.

    And, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Americans with disabilities now have improved access to greater choices in healthcare and don’t have to worry about being refused coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

    Black History Month 2015 Quotes: Inspirational Sayings By Prominent African-American Leaders

    The accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans are celebrated in February with Black History Month, a tradition that goes back nearly 40 years in its current form. What began as Negro History Week in 1950 was expanded to Black History Month by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1976, according to the Library of Congress.

    In declaring Black History Month, Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” In recognition of Black History Month, here are a few inspiring quotes from black leaders and prominent African-Americans:

    “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” -- Martin Luther King

    “No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” -- Booker T. Washington

    “If you only think of me during Black History Month, I must be failing as an educator and as an astrophysicist.” -- Neil deGrasse Tyson

    “The thing about black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up.” -- Henry Louis Gates

    “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” -- U.S. President Barack Obama

    “Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” --

    “One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” -- Franklin Thomas

    “The African race is a rubber ball. The harder you dash it to the ground, the higher it will rise.” African proverb

    “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” -- Maya Angelou

    “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” -- Frederick Douglass

    “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” -- Coretta Scott King

    “The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” -- W.E.B. Du Bois

    “We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” -- Carter Woodson

    “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -- Harriet Tubman

    “Racial superiority is a mere pigment of the imagination.” --

    “I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up.” -- Rosa Parks

    “In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” -- Toni Morrison

    “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” -- Oprah Winfrey

    Honoring the Women of the Civil Rights Movement, Both Past and Present

    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at "Celebrating Women of the Movement," an event honoring Black History Month, in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 20, 2015. The First Lady introduces moderator Vanessa De Luca, Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine and the panel of intergenerational women who have played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement – both past and present.

    In 1957, Carlotta Walls, a 14-year-old African American girl living in Little Rock, Arkansas, elected to attend Little Rock Central High School. One of the nine students who desegregated the school, Carlotta was subjected to constant bullying, physical abuse, and violent attacks -- her parents' home was bombed in February of 1960. Shortly after, she earned her high school diploma.

    In 1961, Charlayne Hunter became the first African American woman to attend the University of Georgia. Enduring everyday bigotry and racial slurs, and bottles and bricks thrown at her windows, Charlayne went on to get her degree -- which has since propelled her to a successful career as a journalist with NPR, PBS, CNN, and the New York Times.

    These are just two of the influential women that took part in a special panel discussion this afternoon at the White House in celebration of Black History Month.

    Moderated by Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca, the panel brought together the following five women who have played critical roles in America's progress on civil rights:

    Carlotta Walls LaNier, youngest member of the Little Rock Nine

    Charlayne Hunter-Gault, activist and journalist

    Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

    Janaye Ingram, National Executive Director, National Action Network

    Chanelle Hardy, Senior Vice President for Policy, National Urban League

    As First Lady Michelle Obama said in her introductory remarks, what connects each of these panelists' stories is a "hunger for and belief in the power of education."

    At some point in their journeys, these women understood that if they were going to reach their potential -- if they were going to make a difference not just for themselves but for this country -- they would have to get a good education.

    Every woman on this stage graduated from college. And some of them did it at tremendous risk to themselves and to their families.

    "Thanks to their sacrifice," she said, "there are no angry mobs gathering outside our schools. Nobody needs a military escort to get to class." But the First Lady also explained that too many of our children still face struggles related to education, and detailed the work that remains:

    Too many of our young people attend crumbling schools that don’t have the technology, or the college prep classes, or the college counseling they need to complete their education past high school. And too many of our young people can’t even envision a better future for themselves -- or if they do, they aren’t connecting their dreams to the education they’ll need.

    So today, too many of the opportunities that these women fought for are going unrealized.

    "Education is the single-most important civil rights issue that we face today."

    -- First Lady Michelle Obama

    "In the end," she said, "if we really want to solve issues like mass incarceration, poverty, racial profiling, voting rights, and the kinds of challenges that shocked so many of us over the past year, then we simply cannot afford to lose out on the potential of even one young person. We cannot allow even one more young person to fall through the cracks."

    Dr. Jill Biden: “All Americans Deserve the Opportunity to Reach Their Full Potential”

    Dr. Jill Biden delivers closing remarks at DREAM 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland, February 20, 2015.

    This morning, Dr. Jill Biden delivered remarks at DREAM 2015 — Achieving the Dream’s Annual Institute on Student Success — to highlight the Administration’s commitment to community colleges.

    During her remarks, Dr. Biden said:

    As a lifelong educator, I am proud to be part of an Administration that is committed to investing in our students, and restoring the promise of the American education system. In the depths of the recession, this Administration saw higher education as critical to our plans to revitalize the American economy, and moved quickly to support students and their families. We increased the dollar amount of Pell Grants as well as the number of students who qualify; increased tuition tax credits; let students cap their federal student loan payments at 10 percent of their income; and streamlined the financial aid process. We have invested $2 billion into over 1,000 colleges, to strengthen partnerships between community colleges and employers to create the next generation of skilled workers.

    Just last year, the President and my husband Joe, the Vice President, launched an apprenticeship initiative — a partnership among community colleges and employers — to provide a career pathway for students and workers. And, as you heard during the State of the Union, President Obama announced his plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students.

    Over the last six years, we have made real progress, but our work is nowhere near finished. This Administration will continue to make education a top priority because we believe all Americans deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.

    Remarks by the President at Black History Month Reception

    East Room

    4:38 P.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Welcome to the White House. I want to thank Saheela for the wonderful introduction. In case you all did not hear properly --

    MRS. OBAMA: You can say it again one more time.

    THE PRESIDENT: I'm just going to repeat this just so you understand.

    MRS. OBAMA: And let’s listen up.

    THE PRESIDENT: Saheela got into Harvard at 15. (Applause.)

    MRS. OBAMA: She didn’t mention that.

    THE PRESIDENT: I don't know what you all were doing at 15. (Laughter.) Speaks four languages. The Arabic is like a major or minor, but has four of them. Is studying neurobiology. Was listed among the “World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers.” (Applause.)

    Michelle is “Umm.” (Laughter.)

    MRS. OBAMA: Umm, umm, umm.

    THE PRESIDENT: Let me just say, there are a lot of teenagers in the world. (Laughter.) Saheela is like one of the 50 smartest ones. That's pretty smart. (Applause.) And she’s a wonderful young lady. She’s like the State Department and the National Institute of Health all rolled into one. (Laughter.) And we are so proud of your accomplishments and all that lies ahead of you. And you reflect our history. Young people like inspire our future.

    And give a big round of applause to her mom who is here. (Applause.) Mom is just filming the whole thing.

    MRS. OBAMA: We see you! You're right there!

    THE PRESIDENT: We can't even see her because she’s got her iPad in front of her. (Laughter.) Nothing like bragging about somebody’s children. (Laughter.)

    We are joined this evening by members of Congress, including Leader Nancy Pelosi -- (applause) -- members of the Congressional Black Caucus. (Applause.) I want to congratulate the Association for the Study of African American Life and History -- which is the group that gave us Black History Month -- on your centennial. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

    All right, that guy, don't get carried away now. (Laughter.)

    MRS. OBAMA: He can get carried away.

    THE PRESIDENT: I don't know, he was -- (laughter.)

    Now, as always, this month is a chance to celebrate the central role that African Americans have played in every aspect of American life -- marching for freedom and equality, jobs and justice -- making a profound contribution to our culture. And here at the White House, we’re committed to honoring that legacy. Earlier this month, for example, we opened up the newly-restored Old Family Dining Room to the public for the first time -- and it now includes a painting by Alma Thomas called “Resurrection” --and that’s the first in the White House Collection by an African American woman. Michelle made that happen, and we could not be prouder of her for that. (Applause.)

    You don’t get carried away, either. (Laughter.)

    But for the past couple of years, we’ve also been marking important milestones in that journey: The 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The 50th anniversary this year of the Voting Rights Act.

    Next week, Michelle and I and the girls will be traveling to Selma to pay tribute not just as a President or a First Lady or as African Americans, but as Americans -- to those who changed the course of history at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Not just the legends and the giants of the Civil Rights Movement like Dr. King and John Lewis, but the countless American heroes whose names aren’t in the history books, that aren’t etched on marble somewhere -- ordinary men and women from all corners of this nation, all walks of life, black and white, rich and poor, students, scholars, maids, ministers -- all who marched and who sang and organized to change this country for the better.

    We happen to be blessed to have some of those foot soldiers for justice here today, folks like Ms. Mattie Atkins. Ms. Mattie Atkins, wave just a little bit. She’s right here. (Applause.) Early in 1965, Mattie -- who was just 27 years old, mother of five -- joined with others in her community to march around the Marion Courthouse for their right to vote. And tensions ran high. The threat of violence mounted. But at night, the protesters would gather in a church and resolve to come back the next day.

    And Ms. Atkins remembers the terrible violence on the night protesters tried to march to the jail, the night that Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot. Ms. Atkins remembers running into the church for safety, wiping the blood from the face of a fellow protester, and then going home to her children who were sleeping safe and sound in their beds.

    And she still went back the next day, because despite the doubts and the fear, she knew that she was doing the right thing for her children and their future. And Ms. Atkins went on to help register folks to vote. She ran for office herself, became the first woman elected to her local school board in Perry County.

    Next week, the world will turn its eyes to Selma again. And when it does, I want everyone to remember that it was because of people like Ms. Atkins and all the others who are here today that we celebrate. But they also remind us, they stand as testimonials to the fact that one day a year is not enough to honor the kind of courage that they showed. One month a year is not sufficient to take on their example and to celebrate the power of a movement. That’s something that we have to do, each and every one of us, every day, living up to their example, then handing it on to our own children, and our children’s children.

    And today, on the third anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death, showing all of our kids -- all of them -- every single day that their lives matter -- that's part of our task. I want to thank Trayvon’s parents for being here on what’s a very difficult day for them. (Applause.)

    It takes all of us to show our young people, as Ms. Atkins puts it, that “where we are today didn’t come easy, it came through thick and thin.” “That’s what I tell my children,” she says, “to stand up for what’s right.” It’s a simple thing to say; sometimes it’s hard to do. But progress in this nation happens only because seemingly ordinary people find the courage to stand up for what is right. Not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. Not just when it’s convenient, but when it’s challenging.

    We don’t set aside this month each year to isolate or segregate or put under a glass case black history. We set it aside to illuminate those threads -- those living threads that African Americans have woven into the tight tapestry of this nation -- to make it stronger, and more beautiful, and more just, and more free.

    What happened in Selma is quintessentially an American experience, not just an African American experience. It speaks to what’s best in this country. It remind us that the history of America doesn’t belong to one group or another; it belongs to all of us -— that idea, this experiment built on a shared story of people bound together by shared ideas, shared ideals, certain inalienable rights of equality and justice and liberty for all people.

    So I want to thank those who made that extraordinary contribution for setting such a wonderful example for each of us. And I know that when I take Malia and Sasha down with Michelle next week, down to Selma, part of what I’m hoping to do is to remind them of their own obligations. Because there are going to be marches for them to march, and struggles for them to fight. And if we’ve done our job, then that next generation is going to be picking up the torch, as well.

    All right? Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

    END

    4:48 P.M. EST

    The White House Launches the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge”

    In February 2014, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative to ensure that all youth, including boys and young men of color, have opportunities to improve their life outcomes and overcome barriers to success. As part of that launch, the President also established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force (Task Force) to review public and private sector programs, policies, and strategies, and determine ways the Federal Government can better support these efforts. The Task Force was also charged with determining how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community. In late May, the Task Force released its 90-day interim progress report, which identified a set of recommendations and a blueprint for action for government, business, non-profit, philanthropic, faith, and community partners.

    Since the launch of MBK, the Task Force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans, through online and in-person listening sessions, who are already taking action. In June, responding to their commitment announced at the MBK launch, eleven of the nation's leading philanthropies announced $194 million in independent incremental investments in organizations and initiatives, including programs to enhance school learning environments and reduce young people’s interaction with the justice system. In July, President Obama announced new independent commitments by businesses and nonprofits representing more than $100 million dollars and pledges of support from educators, business leaders, athletes, and mayors aimed at addressing some of the report’s recommendations. Also in July, the National Convening Council (NCC) was launched as an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth, Tribal, local, and nonprofit communities.

    On September 27th, the President announced that more than 100 mayors, county officials and tribal nations (full list below) have already accepted the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge” (“MBK Community Challenge” or “Challenge”), the next step in organizing and building upon the work of community leaders to improve outcomes for youth in America.

    MBK Community Challenge

    Today, the White House announced the MBK Community Challenge, an effort to encourage communities (cities, counties, suburbs, rural municipalities, and tribal nations) to implement a coherent cradle-to-college and career strategy aimed at improving life outcomes for all young people, consistent with the goals and recommendations of the Task Force’s May report, to ensure that all youth can achieve their full potential, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born. The Challenge is not a new federal program, but rather a call to action for leaders of communities across the Nation to build and execute comprehensive strategies that ensure:

    All children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally prepared;

    All children read at grade level by third grade;

    All young people graduate from high school;

    All young people complete post-secondary education or training;

    All youth out of school are employed; and

    All young people are safe from violent crime.

    The Task Force also identified a set of “cross cutting” areas, among them the importance of caring adults being present and active in the lives of children, hence the emphasis placed on mentoring.

    The Challenge calls upon mayors, Tribal leaders, town and county executives, encouraging them to take the following steps: within 45 days of accepting the Challenge, local communities convene a Local Action Summit with key public and private sector stakeholders to assess needs, determine priorities, and decide what combination of the above objectives they will tackle; within six months of accepting the Challenge, communities publicly launch a plan of action for accomplishing their goals, which will include a protocol for tracking data, benchmarks for tracking progress, and a blueprint for how the community will resource its efforts.

    The White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and the NCC are launching the Challenge. The NCC will provide communities with resources to support their local planning process, assisting them in developing successful strategies for action and tracking their progress. More information, including how local executives can sign up for the Challenge, is available at www.MBKChallenge.org.

    Additionally, the Federal government has recently announced a number of programs that address recommendations in the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force progress report. For example, the Department of Justice announced a $4.75 million initiative to invest in training, evidence-based strategies, policy development and research to build trust and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement, and the communities they serve, and through the Smart on Juvenile Justice initiative, awarded $2 million in three grants which provide training, technical assistance and education to improve the quality of services, end racial and ethnic disparities, and encourage reforms in juvenile justice systems. The Department of Education awarded more than $57 million in grants focused on improving school climates and keeping students safe. And in September, the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development announced a collaboration between HUD-funded organizations, and civil legal aid programs and public defender offices, to focus on expunging and sealing juvenile records – improving the chances that reentering youth will be able to obtain degrees, find work, and secure housing.

    MBK Community Challenge Early Acceptors

    Localities

    Akron, OH

    Albuquerque, NM

    Alleghany County, PA

    Anniston, AL

    Atlanta, GA

    Atlantic City, NJ

    Augusta, GA

    Baton Rouge, LA

    Beaverton, OR

    Birmingham, AL

    Boston, MA

    Bridgeport, CT

    Brooklyn Park, MN

    Buffalo, NY

    Caddo Parish, LA

    Carlisle, PA

    Charleston, SC

    Charles Town, WV

    Charlottesville, VA

    Chattanooga, TN

    Chicago, IL

    Cleveland, OH

    Columbia, SC

    Columbus, OH

    Compton, CA

    Cook County, IL

    Culver City, CA

    Dallas County, TX

    Dayton, OH

    DeKalb County, GA

    Denver, CO

    Des Moines, IA

    Detroit, MI

    Dubuque, IA

    DuPage County, IL

    Durham, NC

    Edinburg, TX

    Elkhart, IN

    Fairmount Heights, MD

    Ferguson, MO

    Flint, MI

    Forest Heights, MD

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    Black History Month 2015: Listen To Obama Interview Marking ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Initiative Anniversary

    U.S. high school student Noah McQueen sat down with President Barack Obama for an interview that is set to air Friday, the one-year anniversary of the president's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative for young African-American men.

    U.S. President Barack Obama recently sat down for an interview with a White House mentee to discuss their shared journey from being troubled teenagers to becoming young men who excelled at academics and athletics. The interview will air Friday on National Public Radio’s "Morning Edition" program, the White House said. It was recorded last week for NPR’s StoryCorps oral histories project and airs on the one-year anniversary of Obama’s black men’s mentorship initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper."

    The president’s interviewer is 18-year-old Noah McQueen, a participant in the White House Mentorship Program. McQueen, a senior at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, struggled with staying out of trouble during his early years. Now, as an honor roll graduating senior, he has become a student ambassador, the editor of the school’s newspaper, anchor of the school’s news broadcast, and an all-county football player, according to the White House.

    McQueen’s story of high achievement mirrors the president’s. On the latter end of his formative years, Obama became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review at age 28. In an interview at the time, he said he was encouraged by the achievement. “But it's important that stories like mine aren't used to say that everything is OK for blacks,” Obama said in a 1990 interview with the New York Times. “You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance."

    Giving chances to African-American men -- who are disproportionately the most unemployed and most incarcerated segment of the U.S. population -- is what Obama says inspired his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Started during Black History Month in 2014, the initiative provides funding to municipal governments, businesses and foundations that help young males of color come to school ready to learn; help them read at grade level by third grade; and prepare them to enter the workforce, among other milestones.

    I Had to share and Honor Black History for 2015

    Remember that we all are creators of Great change which can create Great History from generation to generation. Man in the Mirror - MAKE THAT CHANGE.

    RYM-TYM NEWS AND OH! RADIO SHOW UPCOMING LIVE SHOW REMINDER

    Hello my faithful supporters, I, Martha Wooden the hostess and creator of RYM-TYM want to thank you much for stopping by. FOREVER AND EVER OH! RADIO SHOW wants to thank all of you who have tuned in to listen to all of the live broadcasts that have been aired online during standard mountain time. Greatly looking forward to hosting the next show which will be airing live again soon in this year of 2015. The next show and the new topic of discussion will be posted and scheduled soon on the OH! RADIO SHOW website, still working on it. Forever thanks for staying with me, currently working on some great things that are on their way to soon being set in motion and in place, such as adding and airing a live Health and Fitness show as well as adding and broadcasting an open bible study class, all coming to you live on the "OH! RADIO SHOW'. Will no doubt continue the topic discussions about Relationships of All Kinds. Making the most out of this Radio Show..........All is well (will share more with you later), thanks much for your patience especially with having gaps in show airings.

    Going in a certain direction with the "OH! RADIO SHOW"

    Once the next show is posted and scheduled please save the date and be sure to tune in at that scheduled time to the OH! RADIO SHOW live on air broadcast. Coming soon....... OUT-SPOKEN HEART to HEART - discussions.......Again, thank you much for your much needed patience and faithful support!

    Once a show is scheduled to air live, be sure to check back frequently just in case for radio show rescheduling. Pre-Scheduled show dates and times are subject to change at any given time, sorry, but only if very necessary.

    A BIG THANKS TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU FOR YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!!!!!

    YOU ALL ARE SUCH GREAT SUPPORTERS AND LISTENERS, I APPRECIATE YOU LEANING YOUR EAR IN THIS DIRECTION AND DONATING YOUR PRECIOUS TIME!!!!!!

    UNCONDITIONAL LOVE INFLUENCE....click on this link to read 1 CORINTHIANS 13

    STAY BLESSED, HOPEFUL AND LOVING!!!! I LEAVE YOU IN PEACE!!!!!!

    Martha Wooden (RYM-TYM & OH! RADIO SHOW Creator/Host)

    Smile God LOVES YOU and I-I-I-I do too!

    Thanks much for visiting, viewing, listening and reading

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