In Obama's 2nd Inaugural Address, Advocates Hope for Real Change
4 months ago
Rights groups want evidence that Obama has black, Latino well-being in mind
When President Barack Obama takes center stage in Washington, D.C., Monday morning for his second inaugural address, expectations in some ways may be even higher than they were for him the first time he took the oath of office.
Four years ago, it was all about hope and the transformative change to be brought about by the election of the first African American commander-in-chief. This time around, the hope is still there, but there are also more concrete desires for tangible change from this president. That's especially true of those groups who have been historically disenfranchised, but who supported him by huge margins this last election.
In fact, disenfranchisement when it comes to the vote is definitely on the minds of many in the African American community after what they saw as overt attempts by conservative and GOP forces to depress the black vote. (Despite this, blacks turned out in record numbers and more than 95 percent cast ballots for Obama.) During his victory speech, Obama said the voting system needed to be "fixed." Many blacks are hoping the president addresses the need to federally mandate access to all elections and end state-by-state disenfranchisement rules.
Education, and the opportunities for success that come along with it, also remains a major concern for African Americans. Here, the hope is to hear Obama speak about the continuing need for the nation to provide a quality education to all children, without the distraction of armed guards as a knee-jerk reaction to tragic, yet infrequent, mass shootings, and with reforms to disciplinary policies that often lead to a virtual school-to-prison pipeline.
And members of the faith community want a more clearly defined seat at the Obama policymaking table this time around. The president’s embrace of same sex marriage and a mandate that women’s contraceptive health coverage be provided for employees of religious-based institutions angered some in that community last year.
“This president has reached out to the faith community far more than others…but, [he often] leaves us wondering, ‘Where is our seat?,’” Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant, pastor of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple AME Church, told a local ABC News affiliate.
Another issue blacks hope to hear the president speak about on Monday is immigration reform, with some blacks concerned that illegal immigration pushes wages down overall and sometimes keeps native blacks out of certain jobs altogether.