President’s mission to reverse treatment of Black and Hispanic men
By Roger Caldwell
“For far too long, for decades, we have a situation where too many communities don’t have a relationship of trust with the police. We’re going to invest in them before you have problems with police, before there’s the kind of crisis we see in Baltimore,” says President Obama.
In every minority community in the country, they are operated as a violent war zone where police shoot first and ask questions later. The recent killing of Black men in the news is forcing everyone in the country to ask the question “Does Black Life Really Matter?” In South Carolina, a Black man, Walter Scott, is shot in the back by a policeman. In Baltimore, a Black man, Freddie Gray, ends up dead after riding in a police van.
Folks who live in these communities know that they are mistreated and abused, but they feel powerless and forgotten. With Black men being shot and killed every 30 hours, something must change, or there will be war in the streets with the police. America is in a crisis, and it is time for the president to act and tell the truth.
“The statistics are clear up and down the criminal justice system. There’s no dispute. If we are going to be successful over the long haul, if we are going to win what will be a very competitive 21st Century, we’ve got to have everybody on the field, and we can’t leave entire communities behind,” says the president.
As a result of these strong statements from the president, he called for a nationwide mobilization to reverse inequalities, and said this cause will remain a mission for him the rest of his presidency and life. This is a very personal and powerful position for the president to take because throughout his time in office, he has been charged with not caring about Black people. But with the president acknowledging to the world that he will dedicate the rest of his life fighting injustice for minorities, it is necessary for many Black pundits to re-evaluate their position on the president.
President Obama is now connecting his call for justice with economic opportunity in the minority communities. “We ask police to go into communities where there is no hope. Eventually something happens because of the tension between society and these communities, and the police are just on the front lines of that,” says President Obama.
The President has decided to launch a new foundation to assist young minorities in these depressed communities, to help change their lives. The new alliance will be led by Joe Echevarria, the former chief executive of Deloitte, the giant accounting and consulting firm. The alliance already has obtained financial funding of more than $60 million from many major companies.
The alliance board is a who’s who of the sports, corporate and entertainment worlds. Singer-songwriter John Legend is the alliance’s honorary chairman, and former Miami Heat star, Alonzo Mourning, is a member of the board. The alliance’s advisory council will include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Cory Booker, the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento, and Philadelphia, and former standout Shaquille O’Neal.
This is the beginning of a lifetime mission for the president to make a difference in the lives of Black and Hispanic youth in underserved communities. There are many communities in America where residents are poor, forgotten, powerless, and mistreated by police. It is great that the President and many companies and celebrities want to make a change.
But who is going to roll up their sleeves, and get down in the trenches and do the hard work? When the media is gone, and the lights are off, will the President and the celebrities be there?