- Faith & Family
Leaders discuss if the second-term will be favorable for Blacks in America
During President Obama’s Inaugural Address, he discussed his second-term agenda, which consists of many issues including: gun control, immigration reform, gay marriage/rights and climate change. Many may wonder, will the President’s agenda be favorable to the Black community?
Local community leaders share their opinions of how Obama’s agenda will impact Black Americans.
Rev. Richard P. Dunn II, senior pastor of the Faith Community Baptist Church and former Miami commissioner, said the president’s economic agenda should turn into favorable benefits for the Black community.
“If Obama is able to increase jobs through favorable manufacturing incentives, small business tax incentives, infrastructure improvements, and extending tax cuts for the middle class families,” Dunn said. “Then these policies should result in money beginning to circulate in the Black community.”
Eugene Pettis, who was selected as the first Black president of the Florida Bar, said the underlining theme of the president’s inaugural speech was to be considerate of all of the citizens of this country.
“We cannot be great as a nation unless we are appreciative and sensitive to the needs of all,” Pettis said. “He talked about how while we certainly need to be cognizant of the fiscal deficits that we may have, we cannot forget the needs of so many of our citizens that rely on the social safety net that we have and that goes through all of the social programs that we have.”
Does Obama target minorities in his agenda
According to Adjoa Adofo, the National spokesperson of the Young and Powerful Group, many people mistakenly believe that since the President does not have a policy agenda specifically tailored towards the Black community or any [racial] minority community, he is somehow ignoring critical needs.
“The Black community benefits from a President who wants to fix the job crisis, fiercely protect social safety nets that are a lifeline to many needy families, make health care more affordable and stop families from being thrown out of their homes due to abusive lending practices,” he said.
“The fight for gay rights is reminiscent of past struggles for civil rights in our country’s history,” Adofo said. “Any effort that points this society to increased tolerance for others and eradicates discrimination is progress for this country and all communities, not just the gay community.”
Dunn said that even though he doesn’t condone gay marriage, he still believes that no group of people should be discriminated against. He quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. saying “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Pettis said he is supportive of rights for all.
“I don’t think we can allow our religious beliefs to try to justify not granting full civil rights for an individual on this Earth,” he said.
Issues that impact the Black community directly
Pettis also shared his opinion on two other important issues that he feels impacts the Black community the most: health care and employment.
“We must look honestly at the disproportionate unemployment that has historically been in the [Black] community,” he said. “While the market has been changing with job growth, we need to continue to make sure we keep those things available within the minority communities because they are always the worst to get hit and the last to recover.”
In response to Obama’s interest in stricter gun control, Dunn said he does respect the right to bear arms but background checks, before purchasing guns is not unreasonable.
“The elimination of assault weapons, multi-clips and of body-piercing bullets does not seem unreasonable [neither] and would make the Black community safer because these types of guns are ‘weapons of choice’ in our community.”
“The Black community suffers greatly from unabated, senseless and prolific gun violence every day,” Adojo said. “Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black men and people of color in general account for the majority of gun violence victims. Unfortunately, this is a longstanding issue and real solutions are needed to reduce the threat of violence in Black communities.”
“I think it’s a societal issue that we as citizens need to speak up on to try to reduce the number of guns we have on our streets,” Pettis said.
By Malika A. Wright