The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Chris Fleming
202-463-2940 x. 1021

Communities of Color Listen Intently to State of the Union Address

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous to Attend Speech and Offer Reaction


With the employment, economic and health care crisis disproportionately
impacting communities of color, African Americans will be listening
intently tonight as President Obama delivers his first State of the
Union Address. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous will be
in the gallery this evening, and will be available for reaction to the
speech immediately following its conclusion.

In advance of the speech, below is a statement from NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous:

We are in crisis today. The greed of fat cat bankers has unleashed a
torrent of predatory lending and a trickle of permanent loan
modifications that together are turning homeowners into the homeless.
The unemployment rate for Americans of all colors is over 10 percent,
while Black and Brown American unemployment hovers above 15 percent.
The jobless rate among African American men in many cities is over 50
percent. Approximately 50 million Americans lack health insurance and
more than 50 million people in America - with children
disproportionately affected --don't get enough to eat.

The question being asked by everyone in America is how one can achieve
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when you are not healthy
enough to go to work, cannot see a doctor, and have to decide whether
to pay your rent or a payday lender? It is obvious that Americans are
frustrated - frustrated with being unemployed while watching Wall
Street brokers and bank executives get bonuses, and frustrated that the
change they believed in has not yet occurred.

We applaud the President for the progress he has made in stabilizing
our economy and stemming massive job losses, but we will be listening
intently for the next steps. Immediately following President Obama's
speech, I will report to the NAACP's 2,200 units and begin to discuss
what our next steps will be to affect positive change in our

To schedule an interview with NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd
Jealous or members of the NAACP Staff, please call Chris Fleming at
(202) 631-0929 or (410) 458-4853.

Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.