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
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.
Immigration reform, of course, is central for another key constituent group, Latinos, 70 percent of whom backed Obama for reelection, and who are now also looking for the president to speak to educational reforms targeting the high school dropout rate for Hispanic youth as well as job creation.
However, onlookers Monday may not want to get their hopes too high that the president will address such specifics during his address.
“I don’t see the inaugural address as the place for [policy specifics] to happen,” Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the D.C.-based Advancement Project, told Loop 21. “He’s got to talk about keeping our country moving forward, inclusiveness and prosperity for all.”
Still, hitting such notes, she said, would signal that Obama is aligned with the Advancement Project’s priorities – free, fair and accessible elections for all; quality education that isn’t stifled by the school-to-prison pipeline; and comprehensive immigration reform.
And though the White House weeks ago signaled that Obama would take up immigration reform as a top priority, groups like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and other Latino advocacy groups, who gave the president flack for abandoning a promise to take up the issue in his first term, are taking a wait-and-see approach.
"We are committed to seeing immigration reform become a reality and that jobs creation is a continued part of the conversation,” said LULAC's executive director Brent Wilkes.
So while the president will likely stick to more general themes during his inaugural address, much like he did during his last inaugural address --
-- Obama’s inaugural team has undoubtedly pleased many in the civil rights and advocacy communities with other details of Monday's ceremony.
For instance, Myrlie Evers-Williams, the former chair of the NAACP and widow of civil rights icon Medgar Evers, is to deliver the invocation before Obama’s swearing-in. Obama will also put his hand over a Bible used by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday will be celebrated as a federal holiday on the same day as the ceremony.
“That is symbolic and significant,” Browne Dianis said. It again reminds Americans that, “Wow, we have a black president! That’s just incredible.”
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