Office of Public Engagement African American Outreach Update

Last Wednesday, the White House hosted more than 150 civic, academic, faith and local leaders from throughout the United States for the African-American Policy in Action Leadership Conference. Among those in attendance were Martin Luther King III, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, NAACP Chair Roslyn Brock, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, former Essence magazine editor Susan Taylor, and prominent African-American minister Rev. Freddie Haynes. Participants heard from cabinet and senior administration officials on a wide range of issues, such as the economy, job creation, healthcare, and healthcare reform.

President Obama speaks at the African American Policy Conference, held at the White House on November 9, 2011.

The White House also released a report entitled, “The President’s Agenda and the African-American Community.” The report highlights how the Obama Administration has reformed investments to reward work, improve education and increase college access and affordability, keep Americans in their homes, increase access to health care, and invest in small businesses have made a significant impact in African American Communities.

President Obama dropped in for a surprise visit. In his remarks, the President asked for leaders to listen to the dialogue and engage with leadership around issues related to African American communities. President Obama urged everyone to, “participate here in a spirit of persistence, determination and unity,” in order to “emerge from these difficult economic times stronger than we were before.”

Public Engagement Highlights

Veterans Day 2011
Veterans Day is a time for all Americans to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes. Ensuring that our nation’s veterans get the access opportunities they have earned is a top priority for President Obama, as well as for government agencies like White House Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of Transportation. President Obama’s announcement of executive actions to help middle class families in this difficult economy included new initiatives to get Veterans back to work.

Leading veteran services organizations joined President Obama last week to announce their support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits, two provisions in the American Jobs Act. The President also announced a series of executive actions that will provide new resources for veterans and  help them translate military experience to the private sector job market: These initiatives include a Veterans Gold Card through the Department of Labor, which will provide the intensive and follow-up services veterans need to succeed in today’s job market, and the creation of a veterans job bank designed to put veterans in contact with companies that need their skills and are eager to hire them.

President Obama Signed Proclamation Designating Fort Monroe a National Monument
President Obama signed a Proclamation to designate Fort Monroe a National Monument under the Antiquities Act this week. Until recently, Fort Monroe was the third-oldest Army post in continuous active service, and is integral to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military. This announcement is part of a series of executive actions to put Americans back to work and strengthen the economy. According to an economic analysis commissioned by the Fort Monroe Authority in 2009, the implementation of the Fort Monroe Reuse Plan will help create nearly 3,000 jobs in Virginia.

We The People
Our Constitution guarantees your right to petition our government.  Now, with We the People, we’re offering a new way to submit an online petition on a range of issues — and get an official response. We the People on is a tool that provides you with a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it is sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.

Blog Highlights

First Lady Michelle Obama on Making a Difference in Cities with Food Deserts
For too many American families, serving healthy food as part of a regular diet isn’t actually an option. That’s because, in many communities across the country, there is no place to purchase any groceries, much less fresh fruits and vegetables. These neighborhoods are known as food deserts, and in recent years, as economic difficulties caused grocery stores to shut their doors or consolidate locations, they have been proliferating. Eliminating these food deserts and making sure parents in every part of the country have access to fresh produce and healthy choices is a primary goal of Let’s Move!

Keeping First Responders on the Job
Tyrone Booth and Jesse Carpenter are police officers in Flint, Michigan — where Vice President Biden visited earlier this month. Because of budget cuts, they’ve seen their department shrink since the start of the recession. In fact, at various times in recent years, each has been laid off from the force. Both are keenly aware of the ways in which these reductions have put public safety at risk. Keeping Americans safe is a top priority for President Obama, which is why the American Jobs Act will provide $5 billion to help states and local communities keep first responders on the job.

White House Champions of Change Program

The Champions of Change series is designed for people to look into their communities and nominate everyday heroes who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or their fellow citizens. That is why we are looking for you to nominate someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community as a “Champion of Change.”

In honor of Veterans Day, the White House recognized six individuals as Champions of Change who are committed to helping veterans and military families. These individuals represent organizations and businesses who are working to improve the lives of veterans and military families by providing vital services or jobs to veterans. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Joining Forces officials which focused on how these individuals were able to provide such critical services and jobs to our veterans and military veterans. Take a moment to learn more about Champions of Change or nominate a Champion in your own community.

Get Updates

For more information about how the White House is working with the African American community, visit where you can access the latest blog posts, videos, and schedule updates.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback at

Heather Foster
Associate Director of African American Affairs


One Response to “Office of Public Engagement African American Outreach Update”

  1. […] Office of Public Engagement African American Outreach Update … Last Wednesday, the White House hosted more than 150 civic, academic, faith and local leaders from throughout the United States for the African-American Policy in Action Leadership Conference. Among those in attendance … […]

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