January 26, 1998The President's Initiative on Race (PIR) is an effort to move the country closer to a stronger, more just, and unified America, one that offers opportunity and fairness for all Americans. It is a chance for every citizen in our country to be a part of a great national conversation about America's racial diversity and about the strength it brings our nation. One America on the Move is one of the ways in which we will inform the American public about the Initiative's progress.
PRESIDENTIAL, VICE PRESIDENTIAL, & FIRST LADY ACTIONS
- On January 21, the First Lady spoke to students at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She focused on race-related issues that affect youth and challenged the students to lead in finding solutions to the problems that still keep us from being One America.
- On January 19, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, President Clinton helped paint classrooms at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C., Vice President Gore addressed the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and the First Lady read to children in Washington, D.C. At the same time, 12 Cabinet Secretaries and agency heads, members of the President's Initiative on Race Advisory Board, and numerous other White House and Administration staff members joined Americans across the country to celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday by serving or participating in community events highlighting the importance of service. In 1994, President Clinton signed into law the King Holiday and Service Act making the holiday a day of service that brings people together, promotes racial cooperation and helps to solve problems through citizen action. This year the Corporation for National Service provided $225,000 in grants to 73 sites across the nation to help spur service projects on MLK Day.
- On January 15, President Clinton joined Reverend Jesse L. Jackson at the "Wall Street Project" Conference at the World Trade Center in New York City. The President told business executives that Wall Street must "draw on the talent and diversity of all our people in communities long bypassed by capital but full of potential." Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. also participated in the event.
CABINET / ADVISORY BOARD ACTIONS
- On January 14, the Advisory Board held its fifth meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting focused on race in the workplace, including disparities in economic opportunity, discrimination, and diversity. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman gave the opening remarks, and Council of Economic Advisors Chair Janet Yellen provided an overview on labor market issues and race. At the meeting, Secretary Herman announced a new Out of School Youth Initiative to provide employment opportunities to out of school youth in targeted high poverty urban and rural areas. Advisory Board member Linda Chavez-Thompson announced that the AFL-CIO will sponsor workplace forums on race and produce a workplace guide on improving race relations.
A corporate-labor forum moderated by Secretary Herman was held in the afternoon. At the session, corporate and labor leaders discussed the benefits and challenges of racial diversity in the workplace and means for achieving such diversity. The day came to a close with an Advisory Board community forum, at which Phoenix citizens brought to the Board's attention various issues and concerns regarding race.
- On January 13, Advisory Board members along with local leaders learned about promising workplace practices at Arizona Public Service, Maricopa Integrated Health System, and Arizona Opportunities Industrialization Center. These organizations were selected because they represent efforts that are successfully bridging racial divides. The identification of promising practices, both community-based and national efforts, is an integral part of the mission of the President's Initiative on Race.
In the evening of January 13, the Advisory Board members and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman held a meeting with leaders from American Indian tribes and tribal organizations from Arizona and New Mexico. This meeting provided Advisory Board members an opportunity to hear directly the challenging issues of race that affect American Indians from this region of the country.
- In communities across America, there are many programs that are successfully bringing together people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds to work collectively to solve shared problems and to accomplish common goals. These promising practices highlight efforts designed to improve race relations and build One America. One of the most important goals of the President's Initiative on Race is to learn about and from community efforts and to share them with all Americans. A summary of the promising practices that the Initiative has identified to date can be found on the One America Website. If there are successful efforts that are working to improve race relations in your community, we invite you to share this information with us.
- The next Advisory Board meeting has been scheduled for February 10-11, 1998 in San Jose, California. While in California, the Board will visit promising practices in the Bay Area.
- The next Corporate Forum will be held on January 30, 1998 at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The meeting will be hosted by Secretary of Commerce William Daley as well as Advisory Board members Robert Thomas and Angela Oh.