Black Leaders' Share 12 Month Action Plan

Black Leaders' Share 12 Month Action Plan
ESSENCE.COM Apr, 17, 2010

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Marc Morial
“We made some commitments today about jobs, helping people find jobs and helping people become better skilled so that they can get the jobs that are available. The Urban League is going to push this issue and we look forward to talking to the community about the progress we are making.”

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Charles J. Ogletree
“The first thing that I want to do is make sure we save the Black press. I am going to use my influence with the White House and Congress to make sure Black farmers get the money they need from Congress. The other thing I am going to do is give back at my day job at Harvard and try to make sure that the next Barack Obama, the next Michelle Obama, the next Hill Harper, or whoever comes out of Harvard Law School with ambitions to change America, I will tell them, ‘Yes, you can.’ They can become great leaders, great entrepreneurs, social activist, great public officials, great educators and all those things are possible.”

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“Well, I am going to try to accelerate the work that I am doing. In Detroit, I have a community center where we try to place ex-felons in positions of employment and training programs. This year, because of the challenge we found getting them jobs, we started purchasing franchises for them. We purchased five janitorial franchises, and each person has hired three people. We attend to double that each year, that should take us to 45 employees and ex-offenders working for themselves. Also, we have an expungement program in the last four years I have been able to obtain on average 200 expungements per year for ex-offenders. So these are some of the things that I am focusing on.”

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Debra A. Toney
“We are focused on several initiatives and what things we can do in the next 12 months.” While on the panel, she also made a commitment that her organization would train or re-train 10,000 people to be nurses.

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James E. Clyburn
“We got to do a better job in Washington of getting people to understand what it is we have already done (pass health care law). To help people understand that much of this health care bill is effective and available right now.”

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Ben Jealous
“The reality is that it is almost as hard for a White man with a criminal record to find a job as a Black man with none. But the Black man with a criminal record basically cannot find a job in this country. We are not going to solve the problem of not having enough fathers engaged to their women until we get those men engaged to work. So, we are focused right now in changing how people are hired.”

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Michael Nutter
“I have a couple of things that I will primarily focus on. First, I want all my folks, African Americans and everyone in my city, to be safe. To make sure that our kids get a superior education, dealing with issues of high school graduation, college attendance is critically important and then jobs. It’s all about jobs. We do those three things and we will have a great city.”

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“It is a fight for being known as an Independent that is changing dramatically because a lot of young people are becoming Independents. I think we have a tremendous amount of work to do. I am also an educator, I worked for the last 30 years creating an innovative approach for young people in our communities and other poor communities of color that focus on their development and growth. I am also urging people to stop having the same conversation about ending the achievement gap and focusing on the underdevelopment. Not because it’s not important, but because in other parts of the world people have discovered breakthrough approaches and if they were brought to the U.S., it would make a huge difference with our young people.”

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“One of my goals is in the area of arts and entertainment to share with Black Americans that a lot of things are going on internationally with Black folks that we don’t know about. Also, I would like for us to think about the fact that we have an African American President. When we get frustrated or feel overworked, just think about him.”

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“Let me say it this way, I obviously can’t deal with another person’s responsibilities except mine. My goals are to use the access to media that I have to be able to educate, inspire and direct a generation of young people for the purpose of walking out their own leadership path. And, to help build institutions that will ensure sustainability of a continued movement.”

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“We need a new conversation, let’s hold everyone accountable.”
By: Jenisha Watts


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