White House State Dinner

December 12, 1874  King David Kalākaua of Hawai'i was the first head of state to be honored with a White House State Dinner on by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant

December 12, 1874 King David Kalākaua of Hawai’i was the first head of state to be honored with a White House State Dinner on by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant

Great Seal of the United States

Great Seal of the United States

Royal Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Hawai'i

Royal Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Hawai’i








From the Archives: State Dinners at the White House

King David Kalākaua of Hawai’i was the first head of state to be honored with a White House State Dinner on December 12, 1874 by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant.  In the years that have followed, State Dinners have come to signify the utmost respect for visiting heads of state.  Each State Dinner is an historic event with the power to cement friendships with allies and foster cooperation with warming relations.

Months of meticulous planning go into a State Dinner and thorough research is conducted to celebrate the guest of honor’s country, culture, and favored preferences.  Hallmarks of American culture are also chosen, often by the First Lady.  Together, these considerations are translated into details both large and small, including invitations, menus, guest lists, and entertainment.  The results can be a form of diplomatic dialogue between the host and guest cultures.

For more: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/index.php?s=%27state+dinner%27

USA Japan flags

March 23, 2015

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Prime Minister Abe of Japan

President Obama will host Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan for an official visit to the White House on April 28, including a State Dinner that evening. The two leaders will celebrate the strong global partnership that the United States and Japan have developed during the 70 years since the end of World War II, and underscore the common values and principles that have made the bilateral relationship so enduring. President Obama and Prime Minister Abe will discuss a range of economic, security, and global issues, including progress on the Trans Pacific Partnership, Japan’s expanding role in the Alliance, and climate change.


Japan State Dinner Press Preview and Spousal Program

Monday, April 27, 2015

The White House * 11:00 AM – On Monday, April 27 in the State Dining Room, the Office of the First Lady will host a press preview of Tuesday night’s Japan State Dinner and unveil the Obama State China Service.

As is tradition, First Lady Michelle Obama participated in the design and selection of the State China. The purchase of this China Service was funded by a special donation from the White House Endowment Trust of the White House Historical Association, a private nonprofit organization.

In addition to the Obama State China Service, sample place settings for the State Dinner will be on display for photos and b-roll. Officials and Executive Residence staff will deliver brief remarks and answer questions on background.

Tuesday evening’s dinner marks the eighth State or Official Visit of the Obama Administration; previous visits include: India in November 2009, Mexico in May 2010, China in January 2011, Germany in June 2011, Korea in October 2011, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in March 2012, and France in February 2014.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
host a State Dinner for
Japanese Prime Minister Abe and his wife, Mrs. Akie Abe
White House


Earthquake in Nepal

Nepal Earthquake Map
Earthquake in Nepal

There was a 7.8 Richter scale earthquake that occurred approximately 50 miles from Kathmandu at noon local time. There is significant property damage in Kathmandu.  Secretary of State John Kerry conveyed deepest condolences to all those affected, including families in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

The U.S. Embassy in Nepal is currently conducting accountability checks of U.S. Embassy personnel and U.S. citizens.  The U.S. Embassy issued an emergency message advising all U.S. citizens to shelter in place if they are in a safe location. Any American citizens needing assistance should contact the Embassy at (+977 1) 423 4068, 423 4120, 423 4494, 423 4269, 423 4340, 423 4542, or 423 4144 or if in the United States can contact the State Department directly at 1-888-407-4747.

We encourage people in the United States to contact the State Department at NepalEmergencyUSC@state.gov or 1-888-407-4747 to provide us with information about U.S. citizens who may be in need of assistance in Nepal.

We are closely working with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support.  Ambassador Peter W. Bodde is in touch with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office Of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) about the U.S. response to the Nepal earthquake.  USAID has a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) on its way, and OFDA activated a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue team specializing in urban search and rescue to deploy with the DART to help in the response efforts.  In addition, the U.S. Mission in Nepal will contribute $1 million in initial assistance to support disaster relief efforts.

Please follow @USEmbassyNepal@theOFDA, and @StateDept on Twitter and ‘like’ the U.S. Embassy in Nepal on Facebook for updates.



The Earthquake in Nepal

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

April 25, 2015

I join the people of the United States in expressing our deepest condolences to all of those affected by today’s earthquake in Nepal, including the families of those who died in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

We are working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support. Ambassador Bodde has issued a disaster declaration in order to immediately release an initial $1 million for humanitarian assistance. USAID is preparing to deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team and is activating an Urban Search and Rescue Team to accompany disaster experts and assist with assessments of the situation.

To the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies. The United States stands with you during this difficult time.


How You Can Help

  • For individuals and US community groups looking to learn the best ways to help the relief efforts, please visit the Center for International Disaster Information (www.cidi.org).
  • The best way to help those affected is to make a monetary donation to a reputable humanitarian organization working in the disaster zone. As a U.S. government agency, USAID does not accept donations for its crisis response efforts, but non-governmental organizations have issued appeals for donations.
  • There are several ways to identify reputable, established organizations that make the most of monetary or material donations, including InterAction (www.interaction.org), a coalition of non-profit humanitarian organizations, and GlobalGiving (www.globalgiving.org), which lists disaster-recovery projects worldwide, including in Nepal.
  • “Watchdog” organizations that offer information on responding organizations include The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (give.org), The American Institute of Philanthropy (www.charitywatch.org), GuideStar (www.guidestar.org), and Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org).
  • For groups responding on the ground who want to know how to connect and coordinate, visit the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) site (www.unocha.org). In addition, the United Nations maintains ReliefWeb (www.reliefweb.int), a repository of information listed by disaster, submitted by responding humanitarian organizations.


White House UpSkill Summit


At today’s White House Upskill Summit, the Administration announced new steps to help realize the full potential of America’s workforce by empowering workers with the education and training they need to develop new skills and earn higher wages. Over 100 leading employers, who employ more than 5 million workers made concrete commitments to empower front-line workers across their businesses, in partnership with 30 national labor unions, and accelerated by new innovative data and tools. During his State of the Union address earlier this year, the President launched a new Upskill Initiative, calling on businesses to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher-paying jobs, even if they do not have a higher education. The commitments announced today already represent significant action and progress since the President’s January call to action.


What They’re Saying: Businesses are Ready to Join the President to UpSkill America

Lindsay Holst January 26, 2015  01:24 PM EDT

In his State of the Union address and again at Boise State days later, the President called on more employers to adopt or expand measures to help workers gain the skills and credentials to advance into better paying jobs – including by expanding registered apprenticeships, increasing uptake of tuition benefit programs that pay for a worker to complete their college education, offering on-the-job training for career progression, and increasing access to technology-enabled learning tools.

Tonight, I’m also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships — opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education.

– President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

This initiative to Upskill America includes important steps by employeers, educators, and others in the private sector. That’s why more than 30 employers are already answering the President’s call to grow apprenticeships, support thousands of workers to earn a college degree for free while they are working, and providing a clear path upward for employeers who develope and demonstrate critical skills in the field. It’s also why President Obama is calling on Congress to invest over $2 billion to expand registered apprenticeships and spread high-quality training programs.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/26/what-theyre-saying-businesses-are-ready-join-president-upskill-america


Leading Employers Commit to Boost Worker Education, Job Training to Expand Economic Opportunity for 24 Million American Frontline Workers

April 24, 2015 upskillamerica.org

Washington, DC, April 24, 2015 – A White House Summit will convene today to address the critical need expand economic opportunity for low-wage workers and develop a more skilled workforce. At the same time, top U.S. business and workforce leadership in the UpSkill America partnership will announce new commitments to bolster their investment in frontline employee education and training.

Launched in January, UpSkill America is a coalition of business, labor, education, workforce training, and human resource organizations leading a national movement to provide the 24 million American workers stuck in low-skill jobs the opportunity to gain the education and training they need to move into higher-skill roles. The UpSkill America network’s collective membership includes hundreds of employers and labor partnerships representing millions of workers across the country.

UpSkill America partners played an integral role in bringing together the diverse group of 150 employers, labor leaders, non-profits, educators and technology innovators at the White House Upskilling Summit today. Together, these organizations are leading the way in providing more workers with stepping stones to advance on a career path and into the middle class.

New upskilling efforts unveiled at the summit include one hundred employers expanding access to apprenticeships and on-the-job training, as well as thirty national and local labor unions and non-profit groups working with employers to expand access to best practice training strategies. The focus of these efforts will center on industries like retail and hospitality and in small businesses that employ millions of low-wage workers. New data and tools for workers and employers were also released, among them:

“Businesses have a vital role to play in expanding the talent pipeline in our country,” said John Colborn, director of the Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future, which is facilitating the work of UpSkill America. “UpSkill America is committed to sharing best practices, providing resources like new data and tools for employers to help enhance their workforce development practices and move the needle on addressing the national workforce skill shortage.”

For more: http://www.upskillamerica.org/press-release-leading-employers-commit-to-boost-worker-education-job-training-to-expand-economic-opportunity-for-24-million-american-frontline-workers/




U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch


Atty Gen Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch Confirmed as U.S. Attorney General After Five-Month Wait

Apr 23, 2015 11:04 AM PDT Kathleen Hunter and Del Quentin Wilber – bloomberg

Loretta Lynch was confirmed by the Senate as the first black woman to become U.S. attorney general after a five-month wait marked by partisan fights and Republican arguments that she won’t be independent enough from President Barack Obama.

The vote was 56-43. Lynch is replacing Attorney General Eric Holder, who has served in the job since Obama took office in 2009. After Obama nominated Lynch on Nov. 8, a confirmation vote was held up in part because Republicans insisted on first resolving a dispute with Democrats over an unrelated bill.

“She’s as qualified a candidate as I’ve ever seen in my time in the Senate,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “Loretta Lynch’s confirmation this time around should have sailed through the Senate.”

The Justice Department isn’t likely to dramatically change direction under Lynch. She has worked closely with Holder on many issues and served as his top prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York. She also will have a relatively short tenure to make changes, as Obama is set to leave office in January 2017.

When Obama nominated Lynch, 55, she wasn’t expected to run into much turbulence during confirmation because of her personal biography and tenure as a tough-on-crime federal prosecutor. Still, Republicans said they were skeptical that she would be sufficiently independent from Obama, and they criticized her support for his executive actions on immigration.

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-23/lynch-confirmed-as-u-s-attorney-general-after-five-month-wait


April 23, 2015

Statement by the President on the Confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General

Today, the Senate finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be America’s next Attorney General – and America will be better off for it. Loretta has spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy. As head of the Justice Department, she will oversee a vast portfolio of cases, including counterterrorism and voting rights; public corruption and white-collar crime; judicial recommendations and policy reviews – all of which matter to the lives of every American, and shape the story of our country. She will bring to bear her experience as a tough, independent, and well-respected prosecutor on key, bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform. And she will build on our progress in combatting newer threats like cybercrime. Loretta’s confirmation ensures that we are better positioned to keep our communities safe, keep our nation secure, and ensure that every American experiences justice under the law.


Statement by the Attorney General on the Senate Confirmation of Loretta Lynch

Thursday, April 23, 2015 justice.gov

Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch:

Loretta Lynch is a gifted attorney, a consummate professional, and a dedicated public servant. I am pleased that the United States Senate has recognized her clear qualifications and the need for her confirmation as Attorney General of the United States.

“At every stage of her career, Loretta has earned the trust and high regard of allies and adversaries alike, both in Washington and throughout the country. She is respected by law enforcement officers, civil rights leaders, and criminal justice officials of all political stripes. In every case and every circumstance, she has demonstrated an unfailing commitment to the rule of law and a steadfast fidelity to the pursuit to justice.

“I have known and worked closely with Loretta for many years, and I know that she will continue the vital work that this Administration has set in motion and leave her own innovative mark on the Department in which we have both been privileged to serve. I am confident that Loretta will be an outstanding Attorney General, a dedicated guardian of the Constitution, and a devoted champion of all those whom the law protects and empowers. I congratulate her on her confirmation, and I look forward to all that the Department of Justice will do and achieve under her exemplary leadership


Monday, April 27, 2015
11:00 AM ET
Swearing in Ceremony for Attorney General Loretta Lynch


2015 Earth Day


Earth Day
Earth Day is April 22

Environmental Action means taking the simple steps in the place where we live. By choosing to act on five or more of these ideas you are joining thousands of others who are doing all they can to be a good and responsible citizen of the world.

Volunteer or Attend a Earth Day Event near you

Environmental Action You Can Take:
At home and in the garden
At work
At school
While shopping
In your community
On the road

The Obama Administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe, water we drink, and land that supports and sustains us. From restoring ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades, to reducing mercury pollution from power plants, we are bringing together Federal agencies to tackle America’s greatest environmental challenges such as:

* Recovery Act Investments in our Environment
Protecting Our Oceans 
Supporting Land Conservation
Prioritizing Clean Water
Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Mountaintop Coal Mining
Reducing Air Pollution From Vehicles and from Power Plants
Restoring our Treasured Great Ecosystems
Working Toward Environmental Justice
Supporting Sustainable Communities
Modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act
Reducing Global Emissions of Mercury
* DOI, EPA, NOAA announced Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative to prepare natural resources for climate change
FACT SHEET: New Steps to Protect People, Places and Local Economies from Climate Change
Presidential Proclamation — Earth Day, 2015





April 22, 2015
President Obama delivers remarks on climate change
Everglades National Park, Florida


33rd Annual Protecting Our Children Conference


Native American Tribal map

National Indian Child Welfare Association’s
Protecting Our Children Conference

April 19, 2015 11:00 ET to April 22, 2015
6:00 ET
Portland, Oregon

33rd annual Protecting Our Children Conference is hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the event is the nation’s largest gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. This three-day conference creates a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare.  Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. This year’s conference theme is “Healing from Trauma: Supporting Native Communities, Family, and Children.”

NICWA Facebook


Bill aims to keep American Indian children with families

 Published on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 21:37 Written by ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – While applying for her driver’s license at age 16, Karen Hardenbrook saw her birth certificate and learned what her adoptive parents from Broken Bow never told her: she was born in Winnebago and her mother was a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. As a baby, the state removed her from her biological grandmother’s crowded home on the reservation.

Today Hardenbrook, 57, lives on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill. She’s an enrolled member but at times still feels like an outsider.

“I had a wonderful, beautiful (adoptive) home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Hardenbrook said. “But I still wish I would have never left the res. I would have learned to dance. I would have learned to sing the songs. Now when I get out to the arena, I have to watch everyone, at 57 years old, because I don’t know the steps.”

A bill slated for a committee vote this week in the Nebraska Legislature would further strengthen protections of cultural identities for children like Hardenbrook by engaging tribal government and extended family mediation before removing children from tribal homes.

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in response to what it deemed “a crisis of massive proportions.” Between 25 percent and 35 percent of American Indian children were living in out-of-home placement, endangering the preservation of already dwindling American Indian tribes.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/news/federal/11358-bill-aims-to-keep-american-indian-children-with-families


Impoverished tribe faces surge in teen suicides

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:19 Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota (AP) – The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are no strangers to hardship or to the risk of lives being cut short. But a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken this impoverished Midwestern U.S. community to its core and sent school and tribal leaders on an urgent mission to stop the deaths.

On Dec. 12, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home on the reservation, a sprawling expanse of badlands on the border between the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. On Christmas Day, a 15-year-old girl was found dead, followed weeks later by a high school cheerleader. Two more teenagers took their lives in February and two more in March, along with several more attempts. The youngest to die was 12.

Somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe live on the reservation, which at over 2 million acres (nearly 1 million hectares) is among the largest in the U.S. Famous as the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered about 300 tribe members in 1890, it includes the county with the highest poverty rate in the U.S., and some of the worst rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, violence and unemployment. Life expectancy for men is below 50 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/life/people/11398-impoverished-tribe-faces-surge-in-teen-suicides


April 08, 2015

Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth
Washington, DC

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the White House. We are so thrilled to have you here today for our Generation Indigenous convening.I want to start by thanking Walter Isaacson and Senator Dorgan for their outstanding leadership and for the terrific work that they’re doing at the Aspen Institute.

And as for T.C – there really are no words to express how proud I am of this young man and how impressed I am by his courage, determination and maturity. Barack and I were blown away by T.C. and by the other young people we met when we visited T.C.’s tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, last June. And I want to start off today by telling you a little bit about that visit.

It began when we arrived in North Dakota, and as we left the airport where we’d landed, we looked around, and all we could see was flat, empty land. There were almost no signs of typical community life, no police stations, no community or business centers, no malls, no doctor’s offices, no churches, just flat, empty land.

Eventually, we pulled up to a little community with a cluster of houses, a few buildings, and a tiny school – and that was the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. And at that school, a small group of young people gathered in a classroom, anxiously but quietly waiting to meet with the President and the First Lady.

These teens were the best and brightest – hand-selected for this meeting – and after we all introduced ourselves, they shared their stories.

One young woman was in foster care because of substance abuse in her household. She talked about how hard it was to be separated from her five siblings. One young man had spent his high school years homeless, crashing on the sofa of his friends, even for a period living in the local community center. Another young man had gotten himself into college, but when he got there, he had trouble choosing the right classes; he realized that he’d never been taught how to properly write an essay; and when family problems arose back home, he struggled to balance all the stress and eventually had to drop out.

And just about every kid in that room had lost at least one friend or family member to drug or alcohol-related problems, or to preventable illnesses like heart disease, or to suicide. In fact, two of the girls went back and forth for several minutes trying to remember how many students in their freshman class had committed suicide – the number was either four or five…this is out of a class of 70.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/08/prepared-remarks-first-lady-michelle-obama-white-house-convening-creatin




WASHINGTON – Last week, Secretary Jewell kicked off President Obama’s Native Youth Listening Tour. The tour is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, a program meant to break down barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity for success.

The Department of the Interior put together this short video below to show why the Administration is doing this listening tour and why it’s important for the next generation of Indian Country.

Source: http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/u-s-department-interior/

Champions of Change: Native American Youth Leaders

In honor of the National Native American Heritage Month, the White House honored eleven Native American Youth leaders as Champions of Change. These young people are Champions in their tribes and communities as they work to improve the lives of those around them through innovative programs that help others, raise awareness of important issues like suicide and bullying prevention, energy efficiency and healthy eating. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Administration officials which focused on the great work that these young people do every day.


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



Pres Obama Immigration Orders Face Major Test in Federal Court



Obama immigration orders face major test in federal court

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will be tested on Friday when a federal appeals court considers whether to lift an order blocking the actions to allow millions of immigrants without legal status to remain in the United States.

Lawyers from the federal government and 26 states opposed to Obama’s immigration policies will make oral arguments in front of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the most conservative circuit in the country.

The administration is seeking an emergency stay lifting a Texas judge’s order freezing Obama’s November executive actions, which could provide deportation relief and work permits to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Supporters of Obama’s programs are hopeful the court’s recent dismissal of a separate lawsuit against the immigration programs are a sign the judges will be on their side.

The panel may take days or weeks to decide on the government’s motion.

If it lifts U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s preliminary injunction, the Obama administration could begin implementing its programs. If it does not, Obama’s actions will remain in limbo.

The atmosphere surrounding the hearing is expected to be charged. More than 150 people plan to demonstrate outside the courthouse, including immigrants eligible for relief under Obama’s programs, according to immigrant-rights groups.

With just 21 months in Obama’s presidency, his administration is acting aggressively to resolve the legal issues surrounding the immigration programs, a key part of his presidential legacy.

But Obama’s lawyers could face an uphill battle in court on Friday.

For more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/239130-obama-immigration-orders-face-major-test-in-federal-court


President Obama’s Immigration Timeline:

We are and always will be a nation of immigrants - sml

White House Hispanic 

WH.gov en Español



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