Obama, Sanders announce plans to help African-American youth
Posted On August 26, 2021
President Barack Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday announced plans to create an “African-American Youth Fellowship” aimed at empowering young African-Americans in the United States.
The two leaders, who have clashed over race relations, will join forces to tackle systemic issues such as police brutality, the need for police reform, mass incarceration, and economic inequality.
In their joint announcement, Obama and Sanders called on African- Americans and other minority communities to take action and “make a difference.”
“We cannot have a nation that says it is okay to use violence against black people,” Obama said.
“That is unacceptable.
And we cannot have that kind of bigotry, that disrespect for the lives of black people.
And that is what is happening in this country.”
In his remarks Wednesday, Sanders praised African- American leaders for standing up to racism and injustice.
“What we have seen in the last few months is a sea change in the way that African- americans in America feel about race and racism,” Sanders said.
“[It] is time for African- America to take a leadership role in this nation.”
The two candidates spoke about the need to change the ways our society views the police, the economic crisis and racial disparities in policing, and the need “to get serious about tackling the issues of racial justice, the police brutality epidemic, and other issues of social distancing.”
The announcement came just hours after President Donald Trump announced his nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Sessions was nominated to be the nation’s top law enforcement official by Trump in April, but Trump rescinded the nomination on Wednesday.
“Sessions’ record of bigotry and hatred, his shameful refusal to disavow racism, and his unspeakable bigotry toward our country’s black citizens, is shameful, and should disqualify him from serving as our nation’s attorney general,” Sanders tweeted.
Obama said in his announcement that the fellowship would help “young African- Amerks” who “will be challenged by the issues they face” and will “understand and be part of the solution.”
“I am committed to helping African- and Latinx-American youths to understand, grow, and build self-confidence and to become responsible citizens,” he said.
The announcement follows the White House’s decision to rescind the nomination of former Alabama Gov.
Trump, who had praised Bentley as a former Republican governor, later tweeted, “I hope to see Jeff Sessions’ name put forward as Attorney General in the Senate.”
Trump has also been accused of making racially-charged remarks and attacking the families of Black people killed by police.
The president has also repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests that erupted across the country following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The White House said it will review the decision.
Obama’s announcement comes after Sanders announced a plan to invest $1 billion in a “black-owned, small business” to address issues facing Black Americans in the workplace.
“In a time when Black lives are under attack, it is important that we provide young people with the tools to succeed, including a strong black-owned business,” Sanders wrote in his statement.