Tag: Valerie Jarrett

Michelle Obama Launches New Voter Registration Campaign #WhenWeAllVote

Michelle Obama (screenshot via twitter.com)

via essence.com

While Michelle Obama has no plans to run for office, this doesn’t mean she won’t get involved behind the scenes.

The former first lady is teaming up with several celebrities to launch a new voter registration initiative ahead of this year’s midterm elections. The new nonprofit, “When We All Vote,” is a nonpartisan organization with the goal to get more voters registered.

“Voting is the only way to ensure that our values and priorities are represented in the halls of power,” Obama said in a statement “And it’s not enough to just vote for president every four years. We all have to vote in every single election: for mayor, governor, school board, state legislature and Congress. The leaders we elect to these offices help determine just about every aspect of our lives and our democracy.”

According to Politico, the initiative is scheduled to be launched on Thursday and will also involve several other high-profile names, including actor Tom Hanks, singer Janelle Monae, “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Also, former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett will serve as president of the board. The initiative is its own non-profit entity and will operate independently of the Obama Foundation, the personal offices of Barack and Michelle Obama, and Citizen 44.

Source: https://www.essence.com/news/michelle-obama-voter-registration-campaign-midterms

White House Tackles Economic Inequality & Violence Against Women of Color in Sweeping Initiative

Obama Adviser Valerie Jarrett (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty)

From the stunning attack against a teenage girl by a White male school resource officer at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina last month, to Sandra Bland, who died in a jail cell after a questionable arrest this summer, to Dajerria Becton, 15, who was body slammed by a White cop at a Texas pool party over the summer, violence against girls and women of color in the U.S. is a longstanding problem that needs to be addressed.

That is one reason the White House Council on Women and Girls is hosting a day-long forum today at Wake Forest University. The event will focus on empowering and increasing opportunity for women and girls of color and their peers, officials say.

“Overall, this conference is about recognizing that there are no easy answers to these challenges,”Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, said on a conference call Thursday. “We’ve made a lot of progress, and continuing on that path means we need to be more dedicated, more thoughtful, and more rigorous than ever.”

The Council on Women and Girls released a progress report, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” as a follow-up to the 2014 report, and announced independent commitments to help close opportunity gaps faced by women and girls, including those of color.

The effort is part of two independent commitments. One involves a $100 million, 5-year-funding initiative by Prosperity Together to improve economic prosperity for low-income women. The second involves an $18 million funding commitment by the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research—an affiliation of American colleges, universities, research organizations, publishers and public interest institutions led by Wake Forest University—to support existing and new research efforts about women and girls of color, the White House says.

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USPS Honors Architect Robert Robinson Taylor With Stamp

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.00.31 AMSince 1940, the United States Postal Service has paid homage to the countless achievements made by African-American men and women through stamps that immortalize those individuals who had an impact on this country’s history.

Now Robert Robinson Taylor (pictured), the first academically trained black architect in the U.S. and, coincidentally, the great-grandfather of Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, was honored on USPS’ 38th Black Heritage stamp, issued yesterday, February 12.

Taylor was born in Wilmington, N.C. 1868 to a middle-class family.  Taylor’s grandfather was a white slave owner, who freed his son, Henry Taylor, in 1847. Robert’s mother was descended from free blacks since before the Civil War. Upon graduating high school, Taylor worked for his father a bit but then attended the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where prejudice awaited him and the other handful of blacks who dared to attend.

During his four years at MIT, Taylor worked hard and managed to maintain an above average grade point average. He went on to graduate from MIT in 1892 becoming the first black person to receive a degree from the university.

Upon graduating MIT, Taylor married his wife, Nellie and landed a job at Tuskegee as an architect and educator through a close relationship he forged with Booker T. Washington. Taylor designed most of the university’s buildings built before 1932.  He retired from his university posts in 1935.

Taylor collapsed and passed away in 1942 while attending a service at the Tuskegee chapel which he had designed.

Last year the USPS honored the meritorious works of such African-American greats as Shirley Chisholm, Ralph Ellison, Jimi Hendrix, C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, Edna Lewis and Wilt Chamberlain through stamps.

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via newsone.com

Obama Fights Again to Get Paid Sick and Family Leave for More Workers

President Barack Obama

BALTIMORE (AP) — President Barack Obama launched a fresh push Thursday to bring paid sick and family leave to working parents and other private-sector employees as the White House unveiled proposals that could benefit tens of millions of people. Most require action by the Republican-controlled Congress.

“Forty-three million Americans do not get paid sick leave,” Obama said after a lunchtime discussion about juggling work and family with a group of women at a Baltimore cafe that offers paid sick leave to its small workforce. “It’s a pretty astonishing statistic.”

Obama said the issue transcends demographics and geography, but “the good news is that we can really do something about it.”

The White House said Obama will push the issue anew in the State of the Union address he delivers Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.

Obama wants Congress, states and cities to pass measures to let workers earn up to a week of paid sick time a year. He’ll also ask for more than $2 billion to encourage states to create paid family and medical leave programs.

Obama also will propose that Congress pass legislation giving federal workers an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.

Before traveling to Maryland, he directed federal agencies to advance six weeks of paid sick leave that federal workers could use as paid family leave. The leave would have to be paid back over time.

The White House said details on how Obama would raise the $2 billion will be released next month.

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Physician Darrell Gray Works to Use Telecommunications to Extend Care to Underserved Neighborhoods

Darrell M. Gray, II MD
Darrell M. Gray, II MD

The man came into the emergency room of St. Louis’ Barnes-Jewish Hospital complaining of abdominal pain. Having no insurance, he had avoided medical care as long as he could, but the pain had finally become too intense.

The gastroenterologist called in to consult that day was Darrell Gray, a young physician from Baltimore doing a fellowship at the hospital, which is affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  The patient, in his late 40s or early 50s, had blood in his stool and a mass in his stomach.

“It didn’t take much more diagnostic work to understand that, feeling the mass and seeing that his history of passing blood, this was likely a cancer,” Gray recalls. “Here’s a young guy who comes in with what was later found to be metastatic cancer. At that point I really couldn’t do much for him.”

That experience, and others like it, prompted Gray to continue his already extensive training, which included the fellowship, a residency at Duke, and medical school at Howard University. To top that off, he spent the last year at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

Gray got a taste of public health work during his fellowship. While in St. Louis, he designed a bridge program to connect disadvantaged populations with the health care system. His target population was African-American men, who have a higher incidence of colorectal cancers than the general population, a reality that, in poorer neighborhoods, is compounded by other barriers to health care, such as a lack of insurance, a lack of knowledge about preventive measures, and chronic unemployment.

To reach these men, Gray contacted area churches, gave short educational presentations during the community announcement portion of Sunday services, and followed up with those who contacted him, connecting them with screening services and primary-care physicians. The experience was satisfying, but also made him realize how much he didn’t know.

“I realized from that program that there were some areas I needed strengthening in: health policy, public health, population health,” Gray said. “While I enjoy seeing a patient in the office, I want to be able to impact populations.”

Gray, who graduates this spring with a master’s in public health, said he has benefited greatly from his year at HSPH. In addition to his academic work, he shook hands with the prime minister of Namibia, met with the former health minister of Kenya, met senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, and met with Jonathan Woodson, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

“I had high expectations coming in, but it has exceeded my expectations,” said Gray, who is at HSPH on a Mongan Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.

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Obama Administration Starts to Implement “Obamacare”

Obama To Black College And Universities: 'You've Got A Partner In Me'The Obama administration is ramping up its plans to implement the so-called Obamacare health care law, with speeches from the president, new aides tasked with selling the law to the public and a broad push to get people to enroll for health insurance all coming in the next several months.

To lay the groundwork for the broader public, top administration officials are holding briefings with key members of the press and stakeholders. Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett recently met with more than 100 African-American leaders from across the country to talk about the law. President Obama is increasingly mentioning Obamacare in his speeches.

The White House has hired a special communications adviser, veteran Democratic strategist Tara McGuinness, to help rebut criticism of the law from both Republicans and increasingly some Democrats and improve public opinion about the Affordable Care Act.

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