According to the Washington Post, Former President Barack Obama was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award during the foundation’s gala in midtown Manhattan last evening.
“I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve been on this hope kick for a while now. Even ran a couple of campaigns on it. Thank you for officially validating my hope credentials,” Obama said during his acceptance speech.
Kerry Kennedy, RFK’s daughter and the organization’s president, presented Obama with the award, which celebrates leaders “who have demonstrated a commitment to social change.” Past recipients include Bono, George Clooney, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Robert De Niro.
“If we summon our best selves, we can inspire others to do the same. It’s easy to succumb to cynicism, the notion that hope is a fool’s game,” Obama said.
“When our leaders are content on making up whatever facts they want, a lot of people have begun to doubt the notion of common ground,” Obama said. “Bobby Kennedy’s life reminds us to reject such cynicism.”
Also honored with Ripple of Hope Awards this year were New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav and Humana CEO Bruce Broussard. Speakers last night included actors Keegan-Michael Key, Alfre Woodard, Alec Baldwin, and journalist Tom Brokaw.
According to vibe.com, although Barack Obama is nearly a year out from his two-term Presidency, Gallup reports he’s still the country’s “Most Admired” man.
The numerical proof of Obama’s popularity came Wednesday (Dec. 27) when Gallup released the results of their yearly “Most Admired Man and Woman” poll. In the survey, the publication, known for statistics, asked Americans who is the public figure they admire the most, and for the fifth time since 2013, Obama topped the list.
Obama edged out the current president – gaining 17 percent of the votes to Donald Trump’s 14 – making this year one of the few times in the poll’s history where the sitting president did not acquire the title.
That paired with Obama’s status as the most admired man and the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, being named Gallup’s second most admired woman (behind Hillary Clinton by 2 percent), makes them the nation’s most admired couple.
Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, announced that it will rename its College of Media, Arts and Humanities after Gwen Ifill, the noted journalist and Simmons College alumna who died in 2016.
Ifill was born in Jamaica, New York, the daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Simmons College and worked as a reporter for the Boston Herald-American, the Baltimore Evening Sun, the Washington Postand the New York Times.
Her first job in television was for NBC News. She then joined the Public Broadcasting System in 1999 and served as co-anchor of NewsHour and moderator of Washington Week. Ifill moderated two vice presidential debates and a primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Ifill was the author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama (Doubleday, 2009).
In announcing the honor, Simmons College President Helen Drinan stated, “For over 100 years, our mission at Simmons has been to prepare our students to lead meaningful lives and build successful careers. Gwen’s example stands tall in that mission. The kind of unimpeded curiosity Gwen brought to her work, coupled with her warmth, integrity and commitment to truth-telling, is something all of our students aspire to – no matter what field of study they pursue. We are extraordinarily proud of her and so pleased to formalize her legacy at Simmons this way.”
Among women, Hillary Clinton was the most admired for the 15th year in a row, and the 21st time overall. Since 1993, her first year as First Lady, she has only lost out on the honor three times: in 1995 and 1996, to Mother Teresa, and in 2001, to then-First Lady Laura Bush. Current First Lady Michelle Obama came in second among women, while Donald Trump came in second among men (15% of respondents mentioned him, compared with the 22% who mentioned Obama and the 12% who picked Clinton).
For personal and political reasons, I was really hoping this morning would never come: a morning where I’d see Donald J. Trump elected to lead this nation as its 45th president. It has come, however, and as I posited in my most recent editorial, What I Want to Be Able to Tell My Children About Their Next President, I was at an initial loss for what to say.
But before I said good-bye to my children this morning, I let them know who won the Presidency. My seven year-old daughter Phoebe asked, “So it’s all boys?” I responded, “Yes. That’s how the results came in. But that doesn’t mean we stop fighting for what we believe in and what we think will be helpful for most people. And in four more years, we can go back to our polling place and use our vote to make a change.” My daughter nodded, satisfied. My nine year-old son Xavier took it in, much harder to read, but his silence was more stoic than sad. And then their father took them to school.
Like so many others, I then checked in on social media and witnessed a tide of anger, disbelief, sadness and deeply stirring, galvanized spirit pouring out of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. Soon after, I turned on the television and watched Hillary Clinton give perhaps the greatest, most moving speechof her life. She was gracious, offering openness and healing while remaining indefatigably determined about her democratic agenda and beliefs:
Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things –- the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too — and we must defend them.
…Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.
We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone — for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.
And then, for me, came two of her most stirring sentences:
Please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it.
Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
So as of today, I am determined not only to continue to curate and write positive stories about people of color via Good Black News, but also to step it up and be a source for even more. To help provide information, ideas and maybe even forums on ways to be pro-active for justice, fairness and inclusivity on local, state and national levels. It may be loose, unpolished and grass roots-style; it may come in the form of tweets, Facebook live posts, IG snaps and super brief posts here, as our GBN squad is as small and volunteer-based as ever – but we vow to offer what we can, when we can, in whatever way we can.
It is my renewed and expanded mission to keep heart, love, be kind, be outspoken, work with whomever has good intentions, and to use any anger and rage as fuel for positive change. And most of all, to work day-by-day, moment-by-moment, step-by-step to deliver on promises for a better, more decent and humane future for our children, ourselves and our country.
Donella Wilson, at 107 years old, has never missed a local or national election since she cast her first vote in the 1940s. And Wilson, who was born in South Carolina to parents who were former slaves, says she is ready to cast her vote one more time and perhaps make history once again.
“I never thought I would live to see a day like this,” Wilson told WISTV.com. “I’m over 100 years old!”
Wilson has had to struggle some recently to retain her right to vote. She had to secure a new ID and registration card, but now she is ready and prepared for her opportunity to say something, and is heading to the polls, not just to back up her beliefs, but to remember those who came before who fought for the right she currently has.
“We couldn’t spell ‘vote,’” Wilson told the news station. “We didn’t know what the word meant other than we had an opportunity to say something and cast a vote, praying as we go along, that the vote could count to help us as a Negro race.”
Wilson said she remembers President Barack Obama’s historic election, expressing how “proud and thankful” she was to witness it.
And she hopes to witness history once again on Tuesday, saying that she planned to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton. “I’m looking for her to be our first female president,” she said. “I think it’s an honor, a precious gift from God.”
I know everyone wants this election to be over already – you’ve seen every debate, every news clip, every “shocking revelation”; been inundated in your social media feeds for what seems like an eternity with everyone’s thoughts, opinions, screeds, salvos and takes on who is or isn’t a worthy presidential candidate and why. So here, in these last days, I’ll weigh in with what my choice ultimately boiled down to for me: When the final results are in, what do I want to be able to say to my 9 year-old and my 7 year-old about who their next president is?
In 2008, this moment was revelatory: I was bathing my then almost 2 year-old son Xavier (who since birth has been negotiating the challenges of cerebral palsy and epilepsy) when Barack Obama was officially proclaimed the future 44th President of the United States. I looked at Xavier… he smiled. I teared up, my heart swelled and I told him it was just proven without a doubt that the impossible IS possible, that his own potential was limitless and he could be whatever he wanted to be when he grew up.
In 2012, more of the same – but now I got to say it to my then 3 year-old daughter Phoebe too, who in her lifetime has never known a president OTHER than Barack Obama. Wow. And now in 2016 she has the potential to see a woman rise to the top post of our nation for the first time in U.S. history – which will also be a truly awesome milestone of possibility to celebrate.
But even more than that, I want to be able to tell my children whether or not I or their father agree with the politics of our next president, that our next president is worthy of our respect and support. That our president at her or his core is a decent human being who is doing her or his best to make our country stronger and create more opportunity for the majority of Americans. That our president values and respects women, the LBGTQ community, people with disabilities, people of color and people with varied religious beliefs.
For me, it is glaringly obvious that there is only one candidate in true contention for the Presidency who fits that description: Hillary Clinton. Which is why my sister and our Lifestyle Editor Lesa Lakin produced the ad below and why I agreed to have me and my children take part in the political ad below (we are at the :12 mark). I wanted Xavier and Phoebe to know who I supported, and why it was worth putting ourselves out there to do so.
As difficult and divisive as our current times can be, as I do here on Good Black News, in everyday life I work hard to stay focussed on the positive (and some days, as we all know, that is REALLY REALLY hard). I always want my children to live in a welcoming atmosphere of possibility, encouragement and hope. Of civility and decency. Of responsibility, fairness, and a willingness to admit one’s mistakes and do better. I want the same values they are learning to live by at home and school – to listen, be polite, not name call, take turns, share – to be values I can say our nation’s leader lives by as well. Come Wednesday morning, if Hillary Clinton has won, I can say that to them.
But if she doesn’t win… frankly, I don’t know what I’m going to say.
CNN and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile will take over as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee following the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation Sunday, following revelations this weekend from leaked DNC emails. She said she would focus on party unity as the Democratic National Convention begins in Philadelphia Monday. “Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention.”
Brazile will serve as the DNC’s interim chair through the November election. Earlier in the day, Brazile said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos that she had apologized to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, after leaked emails appeared to show DNC leaders working to advance the primary campaign of Hillary Clinton at Sanders’ expense.
Update: CNN released this statement: “With news of Donna Brazile stepping in as interim chair for the Democratic National Committee, CNN and Brazile have mutually agreed to temporarily suspend her contract as a contributor for the network effective immediately. As a valued voice and commentator, CNN will revisit the contract once Brazile concludes her role.”
President Barack Obama pressed on Saturday night for a greater focus on helping black women who are more likely to be stuck in minimum wage jobs, have higher rates of illness and face higher rates of incarceration than other women.
His speech delivered to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual gala was short on hard policy prescriptions aimed directly at black women. Rather Obama said that many of the proposals that his administration has championed, such as raising the minimum wage and criminal justice reform, would help close the gap between black women and their peers.
The president briefly acknowledged Hillary Clinton, his former Secretary of State who was in the audience and is campaigning for the presidency. Obama called her “outstanding” and noted that she could relate to first lady Michelle Obama’s concerns over the pay gap that women face compared to their male counterparts.
“We are going to have to close those economic gaps,” Obama said.
Obama spent a significant portion of his remarks making the case for criminal justice reform, which has become a core part of his agenda during his remaining days in office. His push to pare back the prison population by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders has garnered some Republican support, but still faces a tough odds in Congress.
Obama, spurred by a series of high profile cases of apparent police abuse, has spoken far more forcefully in recent months about the impact of racial bias on policing. He bristled, though, at some media depictions that suggested that he was anti-law enforcement.
“We appreciate them and we love them,” Obama said of police officers. “They deserve our respect. I just want to repeat that because somehow this never gets on television. There is no contradiction between caring about our law enforcement officers and making sure the laws are applied fairly.”
He paused and looked out at the crowd. “Hope I am making that clear,” he said. “I hope I am making that clear.”
The focus of his remarks, though, was on helping black women. Black women are one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies and consistently vote at higher rates in national elections than any other demographic group. In 2012, they turned out at a rate of 70 percent for the presidential election and were crucial to Obama’s victories in key states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
Obama described the important and too often anonymous role that black women played during the civil rights movement and praised the recent push to put a black woman’s picture on the $10 bill. But he insisted that such symbolic actions fell short of what was needed. “We’ve got to make sure they are getting some ten dollar bills,” he said, “that they are getting paid properly.”
Obama made the case for better job training and more mentorship programs to encourage women of color to pursue careers in math and science. He noted that his wife often worried that she would be labeled too assertive or “too angry” as she pursued her career. His primary focus, though, was on black women who were struggling to get by on minimum wage salaries or trying to overcome abuse.
The president noted that the incarceration rate for black women is twice that of white women and described a “sinister sexual abuse to prison pipeline” in which traumatized women went on to commit crimes.
He called for more effort to stop violence and abuse against women “in every community and on every campus.”
President Barack Obama is the man Americans say they admire most, while Hillary Clinton is the woman living anywhere in the world whom they admire most, according to Gallup poll results released Monday.
Obama, who recently completed two years into his second-term in office, has been the most admired man for each of the last seven years, beginning in 2008, the year he was first elected president. The renewed vote of confidence couldn’t come at a better time. The president has suffered a number of political setbacks this year, including stunning midterm election losses by Democrats across the country. The second most admired man is Pope Francis; Bill Clinton is third; the Rev. Billy Graham is fourth; and George W. Bush is fifth.
Hillary Clinton, who is believed to be gearing up to run again for president, has held the top women’s spot in each of the last 13 years and 17 of the last 18, with that streak interrupted only by first lady Laura Bush in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks, the report says. Clinton is in good company. Oprah Winfrey is ranked second; Malala Yousafzai, the activist for women’s education in Pakistan and the youngest- ever Nobel Prize laureate is third; Condoleezza Rice is fourth and first lady Michelle Obama is fifth.
The Gallup poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 8-11, 2014, with a random sample of 805 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, the report says. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level, according to the report.