2015 National Fair Housing Conference

HUD FHEO Natl Training & Policy Confrnce

This September, HUD Secretary Julián Castro will deliver an address commemorating our 50th Anniversary at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. The ceremony will continue a series of events recognizing HUD’s proud legacy and will coincide with the signing of the bill by President Johnson that established HUD as a Cabinet-level agency on September 9, 1965.

In the months preceding and succeeding the Secretary’s remarks, HUD will also introduce a number of additional initiatives as part of our anniversary celebration.

The first is the launching of our HUD 50 website. I invite you to take a moment and discover some of the great content available on the page. For example:

  1. There’s an interactive timeline that allows you to trace the entire history of HUD, one that starts with the founding of the Federal Housing Administration in the midst of the Great Depression and ends with the crucial steps our Department took to stem the housing crisis of the Great Recession.
  2. You can also read about some of the extraordinary people who began their lives in public housing – a list that includes a former U.S. President, a current Supreme Court Justice, and the CEO of a billion-dollar corporation.
  3. And since none of HUD’s accomplishments would have been possible without our incredible employees, our site will acknowledge some of the inspirational women and men who’ve helped to shape our identity, while also highlighting some of the great work that our employees continue to perform each and every day.

For more: http://hud50.hud.gov/join-hud-in-celebrating-50-years-of-opportunity/

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September 2, 2015
9:00 AM ET
HUD Secretary Julian Castro delivers opening remarks
Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivers the keynote address 
2015 National Fair Housing Training and Policy Conference
Washington DC 

Live Stream: http://ow.ly/RBlNY 

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Women’s Equality Day 2015

Women’s Equality Day is a day proclaimed each year by the United States President to commemorate the granting of the vote to women throughout the country. Women in the United States were granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified as law. The amendment was first introduced many years earlier in 1878. Every president has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1972, the year after legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Abzug. This resolution was passed in 1971 designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day.

Equal Pay - Women Breadwinners

The Paycheck Fairness Act is proposed legislation that would add procedural protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act as part of an effort to address male–female income disparity in the United States. A Census Bureau report published in 2008 stated that women’s median annual earnings were 77.5% of men’s earnings, newer studies suggest, when the data is controlled for certain variables, the residual gap is around 7%, the same study concludes that the residual is due to the fact that “hours of work in many occupations are worth more when given at particular moments and when the hours are more continuous. That is, in many occupations earnings have a nonlinear relationship with respect to hours.”

The House of Represen­tatives approved the bill in January 2009. The United States Senate failed to move the bill forward in November 2010. President Barack Obama said in March 2011 that he will continue to fight for the goals in the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill was reintroduced in both houses of Congress in April 2011.

The 2010 bill had no Republican Party co-sponsors, though a group of four Republican senators had supported an earlier bill to address gender-based wage discrimination, including Susan CollinsKay Bailey HutchisonLisa Murkowski and Olympia Snowe. On June 5th, 2012 the bill fell short of the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster and did not make it to the Senate floor for debate. The vote went along party lines, excluding a vote against by Democrat Harry Reid. (A vote which left Democrats the option to introduce the bill again at a later time.) On April 9, 2014, in another straight-party-line vote, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199; 113th Congress) was again blocked by a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Once again, Senator Reid changed his vote from support to oppose, as a tactical maneuver to keep the bill alive.

The 2010 Senate version of the bill had the support of the Obama administration and that of Democrats in the Senate. The American Civil Liberties Union supported S.182, citing the 2008 data from the United States Census Bureau that women’s median annual earnings were 77.5% of the male median, African-American women’s median annual earnings were 64% of the white male median, and Hispanic women’s median annual earnings were 54% of the white male median. The American Association of University Women also supported the bill, citing the organization’s 2007 research report, Behind the Pay Gap, which showed that women earn less than their male colleagues just one year out of college. The pay gap has widened 10 years after graduation.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paycheck_Fairness_Act

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Did You Know That Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men?

On average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. This substantial gap is more than a statistic — it has real life consequences. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, and over a lifetime of work, far less savings for retirement.

President Obama supports passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a comprehensive and commonsense bill that updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work.

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GET THE FACTS

GOP Blocks Equal Pay

Senate Republicans again kill Paycheck Fairness Act

4/09/14 01:06 PM – Steven Benen – maddowblog

The third time was not the charm. Democratic efforts to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to overcome Republican opposition in the 111th Congress and the 112th Congress, and as of this morning, it failed once again at the hands of a GOP filibuster.

Senate Republicans filibustered a debate on a Democratic pay equity bill backed by President Barack Obama Wednesday.

Sixty votes were needed to allow the bill to be debated on the Senate floor, but Republicans refused to allow the bill to come up for debate after complaining Democrats weren’t allowing votes on their amendments.

The roll call from the vote is online here. Note that the final tally was 54 to 43 – six votes shy of the supermajority needed to end Republican obstructionism – but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote for procedural reasons, leaving it at 53 to 44.

The legislation received exactly zero Republican votes, as was the case with previous efforts to pass the bill.I

In case anyone needs a refresher, the Paycheck Fairness Act is a perfectly credidble piece of legislation that would “enhance the remedies available for victims of gender-based discrimination and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity. The measure would also protect employees from retaliation for sharing salary information, which is important for deterring and challenging discriminatory compensation.”

As we’ve discussed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important step forward when it comes to combating discrimination, but it was also narrowly focused to address a specific problem: giving victims of discrimination access to the courts for legal redress. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a broader measure.

Republicans have responded that they endorse the idea of equal pay for equal work, but in recent years, much of the party remains opposed to policymakers’ efforts to do something about it. (This morning, some GOP senators also raised procedural objections about amendments.)

As for the electoral considerations, aren’t GOP lawmakers worried about rejecting measures like these in an election year?

Apparently not.

Senate Republicans aren’t sweating a ramped-up push by Democrats and President Barack Obama for new pay equity legislation – pushing forward women Republicans to rebut charges they have a woman problem and doubting the issue will resonate with voters. […]

Republicans argue that the Democrats’ bill – along with their so-called “Fair Shot” agenda for the year – is a political ploy that will not fool voters.

I’m not sure who’s trying to fool whom in this model. Dems put together a bill; the bill is popular; and they’ve pushed it repeatedly for six years. That sounds less like a p.r. stunt and more like an effort to address a problem.

As for the midterms, Republicans have struggled of late with the gender gap. At a minimum, today’s vote won’t help.

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#EqualPayNow

US Women’s Rights Movement Timeline 1848 – 2009 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

#WomensEqualityDay

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Justice Dept: Unconstitutional To Ban Homeless From Sleeping Outside

Homeless Family

DOJ Says It’s Unconstitutional To Ban The Homeless From Sleeping Outside

AUGUST 14, 2015 4:29 PM ET CARRIE JOHNSON – NPR

The Justice Department weighs in on an Idaho case, arguing that homeless people should not be charged with crimes for sleeping outdoors when there is not enough housing in their communities.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Many cities with a homeless problem have responded by passing laws that crack down on camping or sleeping in public places. In some places, they’ve effectively criminalized homelessness. Well, now the Obama administration is weighing in, arguing that for those who have no choice, sleeping in public is not a crime. NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Seven homeless people in Boise, Idaho, are suing the city to overturn a ban on camping and sleeping because they’ve been punished under the local ordinances. This month, the U.S. Justice Department decided it wanted to use the Boise case to send this message.

VANITA GUPTA: Making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places when there’s insufficient shelter space in a city really is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

JOHNSON: Vanita Gupta leads the civil rights unit at Justice. She says handing out tickets and fines for an innocent activity like sleeping in public ties up courts and jails, and advocates say that pushing homeless people into the justice system is counterproductive. That’s because having a criminal record hurts their chances when they apply for housing and jobs. Eric Tars works at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. He’s involved in the Boise case too.

ERIC TARS: Most homeless people aren’t criminals, but if you criminalize the simple acts that we all do every day to survive – sleeping, eating, even going to the bathroom – then you make homeless people into criminals, and then you have the criminal justice system dealing with a social problem.

JOHNSON: Tars says the number of ordinances that make it a crime to sleep, sit on the sidewalk or panhandle has gone up by double digits in the past three years. And he says the Justice Department filing in the Boise case could have wide impact since big cities, including Los Angeles, are still figuring out their approach.

TARS: The DOJ’s brief sends a really strong signal to the city of Boise and to communities across the country that homeless people do not lose their constitutional rights when they lose their homes.

For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2015/08/14/432280606/doj-says-its-unconstitutional-to-ban-the-homeless-from-sleeping-outside

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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES BRIEF TO ADDRESS THE CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMELESSNESS

Thursday, August 6, 2015 doj.gov

The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest today arguing that making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless.  The statement of interest was filed in federal district court in Idaho in Bell v. City of Boise et al., a case brought by homeless plaintiffs who were convicted under Boise ordinances that criminalize sleeping or camping in public.

As stated by the Justice Department in its filing, “[i]t should be uncontroversial that punishing conduct that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human violates the Eighth Amendment. . .  Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity—i.e., it must occur at some time in some place.  If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

“Many homeless individuals are unable to secure shelter space because city shelters are over capacity or inaccessible to people with disabilities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “Criminally prosecuting those individuals for something as innocent as sleeping, when they have no safe, legal place to go, violates their constitutional rights.  Moreover, enforcing these ordinances is poor public policy.  Needlessly pushing homeless individuals into the criminal justice system does nothing to break the cycle of poverty or prevent homelessness in the future.  Instead, it imposes further burdens on scarce judicial and correctional resources, and it can have long-lasting and devastating effects on individuals’ lives.”

“No one wants people to sleep on sidewalks or in parks, particularly not our veterans, or young people, or people with mental illness,” said Director Lisa Foster of the Office for Access to Justice.  “But the answer is not to criminalize homelessness.  Instead, we need to work with our local government partners to provide the services people need, including legal services, to obtain permanent and stable housing.”

For more: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-files-brief-address-criminalization-homelessness

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Homelessness Assistance

Who Needs Homelessness Assistance?

More than 1 million persons are served in HUD-supported emergency, transitional and permanent housing programs each year. The total number of persons who experience homelessness may be twice as high. There are four federally defined categories under which individuals and families may qualify as homeless: 1) literally homeless; 2) imminent risk of homelessness; 3) homeless under other Federal statues; and 4) fleeing/attempting to flee domestic violence.

Where Can Individuals Find Assistance?

Individuals looking for assistance can:

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* * * HOMELESS DOES NOT MEAN VOTELESS * * *

Homeless People’s Voting Rights – http://www.nationalhomeless.org/projects/vote/court.html

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Social Security Act of 1935 – 80th Anniversary

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In the United States, Social Security is primarily the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) federal program. The original Social Security Act (1935) and the current version of the Act, as amended, encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs. Social Security is funded through payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA) and/or Self Employed Contributions Act Tax (SECA). Tax deposits are collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund which make up the Social Security Trust Funds. With a few exceptions, all salaried income, up to a specifically determined amount by law (see tax rate table below) has an FICA and/or SECA tax collected on it.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_(United_States)

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The Obama Administration’s Agenda on Seniors & Social Security

“To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”

-PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, JANUARY 25, 2011
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Social Security Timeline: http://www.ssa.gov/history/1930.html

Learn more about Social Security: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/

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America’s College Promise Act

PBO w: college graduates

America's College Promise Act

Sens. Baldwin, Booker and Rep. Scott Introduce America’s College Promise Act to Make Higher Education More Accessible and Affordable 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), the House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a press conference call to unveil the America’s College Promise Act of 2015. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined Senator Baldwin as an original cosponsor of the new legislation. The America’s College Promise Act of 2015 makes two years of community college free and provides an affordable pathway for low-income students to a four-year college degree. The legislation would give students the opportunity to access quality and affordable higher education that gives them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century economy. “Higher education should be a path to shared prosperity, not a path into suffocating debt. But unfortunately, college costs and student loan debt are holding back an entire generation and creating a drag on economic growth for our country. America needs out-educate the rest of the world in order to better compete in a 21st century, skills based economy,” said Senator Baldwin. “The America’s College Promise Act is an investment in workforce readiness and our economy. I’m proud to introduce this legislation with the help of my friend Congressman Scott, and with the full support of the Administration, in order to give all students the opportunity to gain the skills they need to compete, succeed, and prosper.” “Our greatest national asset is the genius of our young people. But with the skyrocketing cost of tuition, more and more families across America feel priced out of a postsecondary degree. This is a disservice to our students and our nation in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy,” said Senator Booker. “America’s College Promise Act answers President Obama’s call to Congress to invest in our future workforce by saving students thousands of dollars on the path to a college degree. Our bill provides the kind of support many young people need to reach their potential by creating strategic partnerships between the federal and state government so that all students have a fair shot at achieving the American Dream.” “Students and families are faced with the overwhelming burden of figuring out how to pay for college,” said Congressman Scott. “America’s College Promise is a step in the right direction to help families gain access to quality, affordable higher education opportunities. For low-income students, this bill creates a pathway to a four-year degree at qualifying Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving institutions (AANAPISIs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). At a time when families feel like they’re increasingly having to adapt to a changing economy and technology, America’s College Promise creates a way for them to gain the skills they need to compete in a 21st century economy.” “America’s College Promise is the President’s bold vision, announced earlier this year, to make two years of college as universal as high school was a century ago, helping students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Community colleges are not just a uniquely American institution, but as the largest most affordable segment of America’s higher education system, they are critical to reaching the President’s goal to have the highest share of college graduates in the world and to ensuring America’s economic prosperity in the future.”

During a stop last week in La Crosse, Wisconsin, President Obama highlighted this proposal saying, “Now, in an economy that’s constantly changing, we’ve also got to give every American the chance to earn the skills they need to stay competitive. That’s why we’ve got to be investing in job training and apprenticeships that help folks earn the skills for that new job or better-paying job. That’s why we should make community college free for responsible students — like Tammy Baldwin is introducing in the United States Senate. No middle-class family should be priced out of the education that they need.”

Under the America’s College Promise Act, a full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year. If all states participated under this program, an estimated 9 million students could benefit. This legislation:

  • Creates a new partnership between the federal government and states and Indian tribes to help them waive resident tuition in two years of community and technical college programs for eligible students, while promoting key reforms to accelerate student success;
  • Provides a federal match of $3 for every $1 invested by the state to waive community college tuition and fees for eligible students before other financial aid is applied;
  • Ensures that programs offer academic credits which are fully transferable to four-year institutions in their state, or occupational training that leads to credentials in an in-demand industry;
  • Maintains and encourages state funding for higher education; and
  • Establishes a new grant program to provide pathways to success at minority serving institutions by helping them cover a significant portion of tuition and fees for the first two years of attendance for low-income students.

The America’s College Promise Act is cosponsored by over 60 members of the House of Representatives and the following members of the United States Senate: Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). The legislation has also been endorsed by: AFL-CIO, Alliance for Equity in Higher Education, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), Asian American and Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities (APIACU), Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund (APIASF), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), Campaign for America’s Future, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Consumers Union, Generation Progress, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), National Education Association (NEA), National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), National Skills Coalition, One Wisconsin Now, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Student Debt Crisis, The Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension, and Wisconsin Technical College System. For more: http://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/baldwin-americas-college-promise-act-to-make-higher-education-more-accessible-and-affordable-?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed .

Remarks by the President on America’s College Promise

Pellissippi State Community College Knoxville, Tennessee

(Excerpts)

“… today, in a 21st century economy, where your most valuable asset is your knowledge, the single most important way to get ahead is not just to get a high school education, you’ve got to get some higher education.  That’s why all of you are here.

Now, the value of an education is not purely instrumental.  Education helps us be better people.  It helps us be better citizens.  You came to college to learn about the world and to engage with new ideas and to discover the things you’re passionate about — and maybe have a little fun.  (Laughter.)  And to expand your horizons.  That’s terrific — that’s a huge part of what college has to offer.

But you’re also here, now more than ever, because a college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class.  It is the key to getting a good job that pays a good income — and to provide you the security where even if you don’t have the same job for 30 years, you’re so adaptable and you have a skill set and the capacity to learn new skills, it ensures you’re always employable.

And that is the key not just for individual Americans, that’s the key for this whole country’s ability to compete in the global economy.  In the new economy, jobs and businesses will go wherever the most skilled, best-educated workforce resides.  Because businesses are mobile now.  Technology means they can locate anywhere.  And where they have the most educated, most adaptable, most nimble workforce, that’s where they’re going to locate.  And I want them to look no further than the United States of America.  I want them coming right here.  I want those businesses here, and I want the American people to be able to get those businesses — or get those jobs that those businesses create.

So that’s why we’ve increased grants and took on a student loan system that was funneling billions of taxpayer dollars through big banks, and said let’s cut out the middleman, let’s give them directly to students instead, we can help more students.

We’ve increased scholarships.  We’ve cut taxes for people paying tuition.  We’ve let students cap their federal student loan payments at 10 percent of income so that they can borrow with confidence, particularly if you’re going into a job like nursing or teaching that may not pay a huge salary but that’s where your passions are.

We’re creating a new college ratings system that will give parents and students the kind of clear, concise information you need to shop around for a school with the best value for you — and gives us the capacity to recognize schools that offer a great education at a reasonable price.

On the flight over here, Lamar and I were talking about how we can do more to simplify the application process for federal student loans, which is still too complicated.  (Applause.)

So we’ve done a lot of good work over the last six years; we’re going to keep at it.  But today, I want to focus on a centerpiece of my education agenda — and that’s the community colleges, like this one.

For millions of Americans, community colleges are essential pathways to the middle class because they’re local, they’re flexible.  They work for people who work full-time.  They work for parents who have to raise kids full-time.  They work for folks who have gone as far as their skills will take them and want to earn new ones, but don’t have the capacity to just suddenly go study for four years and not work.  Community colleges work for veterans transitioning back into civilian life.  Whether you’re the first in your family to go to college, or coming back to school after many years away, community colleges find a place for you.  And you can get a great education.

Now, Jill has been teaching English at community colleges for 20 years.  She started when she was like 15.  (Laughter.)  And she’s still full-time today.  And she sees — I talk to her and she talks about her students, and she can see the excitement and the promise, and sometimes the fear of being a 32-year-old mom who’s going back to school and never finished the degree that she had started, and life got in the way and now she’s coming back and suddenly getting a whole new skills set and seeing a whole range of career options opening up to her.  It’s exciting.

And that’s what community colleges are all about — the idea that no one with drive and discipline should be left out, should be locked out of opportunity, and certainly that nobody with that drive and discipline should be denied a college education just because they don’t have the money.  Every American, whether they’re young or just young at heart, should be able to earn the skills and education necessary to compete and win in the 21st century economy.

So today I’m announcing an ambitious new plan to bring down the cost of community college tuition in America.  I want to bring it down to zero.  (Applause.)  We’re going to — I want to make it free.  (Applause.)  I want to make it free.  Community colleges should be free for those willing to work for it — because in America, a quality education cannot be a privilege that is reserved for a few.  I think it’s a right for everybody who’s willing to work for it.”

For the entire transcript: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/09/remarks-president-americas-college-promise

https://youtu.be/W6pZyUmOoCg?t=4s 1/9/15 FACT SHEET – White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students

#BackToSchool

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NAACP’s Justice March from Selma to Washington, DC

NAACP Justice March

From August 1 to September 16, America’s Journey for Justice–an historic 860-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to Washington, D.C.–will mobilize activists and advance a focused national advocacy agenda that protects the right of every American to a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education.

Issue Focus by State:

Alabama – Economic Inequality
Georgia – Education Reform
South Carolina – Criminal Justice Reform
North Carolina – Voting Rights
Virginia – Youth Rally
Washington, D.C.

For more: http://www.naacp.org//ajfj https://youtu.be/P0IdrBgORKI?t=2m14s .

#JusticeSummer

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Pres Obama visits Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma & El Reno FCI

PBO Choctaw Nation OKChoctaw Chief Gary Batton on PBO visit

PRESIDENT OBAMA TO VISIT CHOCTAW NATION IN OKLAHOMA ON WEDNESDAY

July 11, 2015 nativenewsonline.net

WASHINGTON—The White House announced on Friday, President Barack Obama will visit the Choctaw Nation next week.

“On Wednesday, July 15th, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, where he will visit the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and deliver remarks on expanding economic opportunity,” White House spokesman Keith Maley said.

The president will remain overnight in Oklahoma and visit a federal prison the next day where he will be interviewed for a documentary about the American justice system. The documentary will be broadcast this fall.

The president’s visit will be his second visit to an American Indian tribe since he became president of the United States. In June 2014, President Obama visited the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

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FACT SHEET: ConnectHome: Coming Together to Ensure Digital Opportunity for All Americans

Today, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, to announce ConnectHome, a new initiative with communities, the private sector, and federal government to expand high speed broadband to more families across the country. The pilot program is launching in twenty-seven cities and one tribal nation and will initially reach over 275,000 low-income households – and nearly 200,000 children – with the support they need to access the Internet at home. Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units.

ConnectHome is the next step in the President’s continued efforts to expand high speed broadband to all Americans and builds on his ConnectED initiative that is on track to connect 99 percent of K-12 students to high-speed Internet in their classrooms and libraries over the next five years.  ConnectHome will help ensure that these students still have access to high-speed Internet once they are home.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/15/fact-sheet-connecthome-coming-together-ensure-digital-opportunity-all

Choctaw soldiers in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions

Choctaw soldiers in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
President Obama meets with Choctaw Nation Chief Batton and Tribal Elders on expanding economic opportunity for for communities across the country
Durant High School, Choctaw Nation, Durant, Oklahoma

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US Government & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2014 ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™

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(BOP) – On Thursday, July 16th, President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), El Reno, Oklahoma. This visit marks the first time in history a United States President has visited a federal prison while in office. He will be accompanied by Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.

The President will meet with inmates and speak with staff. This is a great opportunity for the Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) to show President Obama, and the Nation, the outstanding work performed daily at all Bureau institutions in meeting our mission to protect society and prepare inmates for reentry. The Bureau is honored that the President decided to make this visit.

FCI El Reno is a medium-security federal prison housing more than 1,000 male offenders. Another 248 male offenders reside at an adjacent minimum-security camp. Originally authorized by Congress in 1930 as a facility to rehabilitate, train and educate young offenders, FCI El Reno has a long and diverse history within the agency. It is home to one of the two remaining farms in operation within the Bureau, the other being at the Federal Correctional Complex, Lompoc, California.

Excerpts from 7/14/15 President Obama’s remarks at the 2015 NAACP Conference:

“The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s.

We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined.

In 1980, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America — half a million people in 1980. In 2015 there are 2.2 million.  It has quadrupled since 1980.  Our prison population has doubled in the last two decades alone.

Studies show that up to a certain point, tougher prosecutors and stiffer sentences for these violent offenders contributed to the decline in violent crime over the last few decades.  Although the science also indicates that you get a point of diminishing returns.  But it is important for us to recognize that violence in our communities is serious and that historically, in fact, the African American community oftentimes was under-policed rather than over-policed.  Folks were very interested in containing the African American community so it couldn’t leave segregated areas, but within those areas there wasn’t enough police presence.

Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before.   And that is the real reason our prison population is so high.  In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime.  If you’re a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society.  You have to be held accountable and make amends.  But you don’t owe 20 years.  You don’t owe a life sentence.  That’s disproportionate to the price that should be paid.

[United States] taxpayers are picking up the tab for that price.  Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated — $80 billion.  Now, just to put that in perspective, for $80 billion, we could have universal preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America.  That’s what $80 billion buys.  For $80 billion, we could double the salary of every high school teacher in America.  For $80 billion, we could finance new roads and new bridges and new airports, job training programs, research and development.  We’re about to get in a big budget debate in Washington — what I couldn’t do with $80 billion. For what we spend to keep everyone locked up for one year, we could eliminate tuition at every single one of our public colleges and universities.”

For the entire transcript: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/remarks-president-naacp-conference

FACT SHEET: Enhancing the Fairness and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System

Today the President will lay out the case for meaningful juvenile and criminal justice reform that makes our system, fairer, smarter and more cost-effective while keeping the American people safe and secure.  Across the political spectrum, there is a growing consensus to make reforms to the juvenile and criminal justice systems to ensure that criminal laws are enforced more fairly and efficiently.  Unwarranted disparities and unduly harsh sentences undermine trust in the rule of law and offend the basic principles of fairness and justice.  In an era of limited resources and diverse threats, there is a public safety imperative to devote the resources of the criminal justice system to the practices that are most successful at deterring crime and protecting the public.

This Administration has taken a series of actions to enhance fairness and efficiency at all phases of the criminal justice system and to better address the vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.  Now, it is time for Congress to act.  Meaningful sentencing reform, steps to reduce repeat offenders and reform of the juvenile justice system are crucial to improving public safety, reducing runaway incarceration costs and making our criminal justice system more fair.

* A Smarter and Fairer Approach to Charging and Sentencing

* Enhancing the Credibility and Accountability of the Justice System

* Focus on Effective Prisoner Reentry and the Cycle of Incarceration

* Support for State and Local Law Enforcement

* Working with State and Local Law Enforcement to Build Community Trust

* Working with State and Local Law Enforcement to Build Community Trust

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/fact-sheet-enhancing-fairness-and-effectiveness-criminal-justice-system

Thursday, July 16, 2015
President Obama delivers remarks on Enhancing the Fairness and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System
El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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