January 5, 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 & FIRST LADY ACTIONS
- On December 3, the President hosted the first ever Town Meeting in Akron, Ohio. In launching his Initiative on Race, President Clinton called for Americans to come together and to undertake a national dialogue about race and issues associated with race. The Akron Town Meeting was the first of these dialogues on a national scale. The conversation included youth, local educators, elected officials and families. President Clinton's Akron Town Meeting sparked interest across the nation. Over 20,000 Americans viewed the Akron Town Meeting through local town meetings ("watch parties"), held meaningful conversations, and sent the Initiative valuable and thoughtful comments about what they learned and what they wanted the President to know.
- On December 10, 1997, the First Lady attended a panel discussion with New England school children in Boston to discuss racism. The Boston event brought together 10,000 students who pledged to try to stop prejudice and to speak out against anyone who seeks to mock or hurt someone of a different race, religion, ethnic group or sexual orientation. The Team Harmony program is one of the Initiative's original Promising Practices identified on our Website. It is also referenced in the First Lady's book, It Takes a Village.
CABINET / ADVISORY BOARD ACTIONS
- On December 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and Advisory Board Member Robert Thomas hosted the first of four forums called One America: The Business Community Responds. Major business leaders who are committed to help build One America in the 21st Century came together in Miami, Florida to learn more about One America and the critical role they can play in improving race relations in the workplace and to provide equal opportunity for all Americans.
- On December 17, the Advisory Board held its fourth meeting at Annandale High school in Fairfax County, Virginia. The focus of the meeting was race in primary and secondary education. Secretary Riley gave the welcoming remarks and spoke about the importance of education in creating One America. At the morning roundtable, students, teachers, parents, and administrators from Fairfax County Public Schools focused on the lessons which may be learned from Fairfax's growing student diversity. The afternoon roundtable featured education leaders and scholars with diverse perspectives on key education issues. In between the two roundtable discussions, the Board members, along with Senator Chuck Robb and Congressman Bob Davis, met during lunch with students, parents, and teachers from Annandale High School to further discuss racial issues.
- On December 17, Secretary Cuomo and Mark Smith, President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA), signed a "Fair Lending - Best Practices" agreement to reaffirm their common commitment to ensure that mortgage credit is available to all Americans, unfettered by discriminatory practices. Three years ago, HUD and MBA launched an unprecedented public/private partnership to increase home ownership opportunities for minority and low-income Americans. This latest agreement serves both to renew and recognize the success of the original agreement. To date, HUD has entered into 113 "Best Practice" agreements with key lenders.
- On December 2, The President's Initiative on Race unveiled a new public service announcement to encourage young Americans to participate in the national dialogue on race. The campaign is designed to recognize that there are common bonds that unite Americans despite racial differences. If it hasn't been broadcasted in your city yet, you can call your local television station to see when it will be aired.
- By the end of December, only one month after the President issued a Call-to-Action letter to 25,000 young leaders across the nation, the President has received over 400 responses. In this letter, the President asked young Americans to commit themselves to lead their communities in efforts to talk, listen, teach, and act to improve understanding among the races.
- The next Advisory Board meeting will be held on January 14, 1998 in Phoenix, Arizona. This meeting will focus attention on key disparities in employment and an assessment of methods that have been used to address these problems. Directly after the Advisory Board meeting, a community forum will be held in which Board members will listen and learn from members of the community about race related issues and concerns in the Phoenix area.
- On January 13, in conjunction with the Advisory Board meeting in Phoenix, Advisory Board members will make visits to local Promising Practices that focus on employment issues. In the evening, the Advisory Board members will meet with regional representatives of American Indian tribes.
- The next advisory board meetings have been scheduled:
February 11, 1997 in San Francisco/Oakland, California
March 25, 1998 in Denver, Colorado