Obama Talks Education and ‘Real Housewives’ at Urban League Conference
The 2012 National Urban League Conference is officially underway following the plenary address by President Barack Obama at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The president addressed an audience of 4,000 attendees on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.
During his keynote, President Obama announced a new education initiative for African Americans complemented by a challenge, “Our education policy hasn’t just been based on more money, we’ve also called for real reform [making] college more affordable for an additional 200,000 African American students by increasing Pell grants, [strengthening] this nation’s commitment to our community colleges, and to our HBCUs. That’s why, tomorrow, I’m establishing the first-ever White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans — so that every child has greater access to a complete and competitive education from the time they’re born all through the time they get a career.”
The president then presented a challenge that elicited laughter and nodding heads in agreement. “Of course, that means all of you all have got to hit the books. I’m just saying. Don’t cheer and then you didn’t do your homework. Because that’s part of the bargain, that’s part of the bargain — America says we will give you opportunity, but you’ve got to earn your success. You’re competing against young people in Beijing and Bangalore. They’re not hanging out. They’re not playing video games. They’re not watching “Real Housewives.” I’m just saying. It’s a two-way street. You’ve got to earn success.”
On crime and gun violence …
“For every Columbine or Virginia Tech, there are dozens gunned down on the streets of Chicago and Atlanta, and here in New Orleans. For every Tucson or Aurora, there is daily heartbreak over young Americans shot in Milwaukee or Cleveland. So we’ve been able to take some actions on our own, recognizing that it’s not always easy to get things through Congress these days.
“With that said, background checks on those looking to purchase firearms are more thorough, the federal government is partnering with local officials to reduce crime and helping connect more young people to summer jobs and prevention and intervention programs – steering them away from a life of gang violence and towards the safety and promise of a classroom.”
National Urban League president Marc Morial in a post-plenary press conference expressed the value of President Obama’s presence at the convention, “It says the Urban League is an important audience and an important organization … urban issues are important to the president’s work and the president’s agenda.” –yvette caslin