Welcome to Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K.

Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. is a Pan-African Blog with an acronym that stands for Building Leadership Awareness and Cultural Knowledge.

The goal of this blog is to become a "Blog of Black Thought" focusing on matters of social, economic and political awareness through education (re-education), self-affirmation and cultural expression. Above all, this blog will DEMAND respect and appreciation for one another as black men and women.

Got something to say? Feel free to visit and comment on past posts. You can also email this site at opreachblack@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @reachblack.


(Opinions, Observations, and Commentary)

Monday, January 6, 2014

President Obama's Weekly Address (1/4/14)

President advocates for unemployment benefits extension

The president continued his push for extending unemployment benefits in this week's address. Discussing the need to act, President Obama urged that Americans do not turn their backs on each other during hard times. For many, the president noted, unemployment benefits provide security during uncertain times and assistance as those without employment attempt to regain their footing:

"Just a few days after Christmas, more than one million of our fellow Americans lost a vital economic lifeline – the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job. Republicans in Congress went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire. And for many of their constituents who are unemployed through no fault of their own, that decision will leave them with no income at all.

We make this promise to one another because it makes a difference to a mother who needs help feeding her kids while she’s looking for work; to a father who needs help paying the rent while learning the skills to get a new and better job. And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We’re a better country than that. We don’t abandon our fellow Americans when times get tough – we keep the faith with them until they start that new job." (White House transcript)

The president said that, if it passes, he will sign a bipartisan extension of unemployment benefits that is currently working its way through Congress.

President Obama's Weekly Address:

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

President Obama's Weekly Address (12/25/13)

This is a belated post, but a holiday message is always welcome. Last week, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sat down to wish Season's Greetings and remember our troops and their families:

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Monday, December 23, 2013

President Obama's Weekly Address (12/21/13)

President comments on budget, confirmations, and failed action on unemployment benefits

Noting bipartisan Congressional effort, President Obama welcomed the recent budget as well as several confirmations in this week's address:

"For the first time in years, both parties came together in the spirit of compromise to pass a budget – one that helps chart our economic course for the next two years. This budget will unwind some of the damaging cuts that have threatened students and seniors and held back our businesses. It clears the path for critical investments in the things that grow our economy and strengthen our middle class, like education and research. And it will keep reducing our deficits – at a time when we’ve seen four years of the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II.

Members of Congress also voted to finally allow several dedicated and well-qualified public servants to do their jobs for the American people – many of whom waited months for a simple yes-or-no vote. These are judges, cabinet secretaries and military leaders. They’re men and women charged with growing our economy, keeping our homeland secure, and making sure our housing system and financial system work for ordinary Americans." (White House transcript)

However, President Obama lamented the fact that Congress failed to act on extending unemployment benefits for millions of people:

"Right now, because Congress failed to act before leaving on vacation, more than one million Americans are poised to lose a vital source of income just a few days after Christmas. For many people who are still looking for work, unemployment insurance is a lifeline that can make the difference between temporary hardship or lasting catastrophe. Instead of punishing these families who can least afford it – especially now – Congress should first restore that lifeline immediately, then put their entire focus on creating more good jobs that pay good wages." (White House transcript)

President Obama's Weekly Address:

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

President Obama's Weekly Address (12/14/13)

President remembers Sandy Hook victims

Saturday marked exactly one year to the day of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. In his weekly address, President Obama paused to remember the victims who were lost on that day and acknowledge the voices of those who have come forward in hopes of preventing more tragedies in the future:

"Six dedicated school workers and 20 beautiful children were taken from our lives forever.

As parents, as Americans, the news filled us with grief. Newtown is a town like so many of our hometowns. The victims were educators and kids that could have been any of our own. And our hearts were broken for the families that lost a piece of their heart; for the communities changed forever; for the survivors, so young, whose innocence was torn away far too soon.

But beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change.

From the very beginning, our efforts were led by the parents of Newtown – men and women, impossibly brave, who stepped forward in the hopes that they might spare others their heartbreak. And they were joined by millions of Americans – mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers – who refused to accept these acts of violence as somehow inevitable.

Over the past year, their voices have sustained us. And their example has inspired us – to be better parents and better neighbors; to give our children everything they need to face the world without fear; to meet our responsibilities not just to our own families, but to our communities. More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered." (White House transcript)

President Obama's Weekly Address:

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

President Obama's Weekly Address (12/7/13)

President supports extending unemployment benefits

President Obama Visits Ellicott Dredges on Jobs Tour
(photo credit: MDGovpics via photopin cc)
The president's weekly addressed focused on the issue of extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. Beyond the effect on families and veterans in need of assistance, President Obama also discussed the economic impact if Congress fails to act:

"For many families, it can be the difference between hardship and catastrophe. It makes a difference for a mother who suddenly doesn’t know if she’ll be able to put food on the table for her kids. It makes a difference for a father who lost his job and is looking for a new one. Last year alone, it lifted 2.5 million people out of poverty, and cushioned the blow for many more.

But here’s the thing: if Members of Congress don’t act before they leave on their vacations, 1.3 million Americans will lose this lifeline. These are people we know. They’re our friends and neighbors; they sit next to us in church and volunteer in our communities; their kids play with our kids. And they include 20,000 veterans who’ve served this country with honor.

If Congress refuses to act, it won’t just hurt families already struggling – it will actually harm our economy. Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways there is to boost our economy. When people have money to spend on basic necessities, that means more customers for our businesses and, ultimately, more jobs. And the evidence shows that unemployment insurance doesn’t stop people from trying hard to find work.

Just this week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that allowing benefits to expire will be a drag on our economic growth next year. A report by the Department of Labor and my Council of Economic Advisors estimated that it could cost businesses 240,000 jobs. And without the ability to feed their families or pay the bills, many people currently looking for work could stop looking for good." (White House transcript)

President Obama's Weekly Address:

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

President Obama's Weekly Address (11/28/13)

President Obama delivers Thanksgiving message

A belated post, but a holiday message nonetheless. This past Thursday, President Obama used his weekly address to deliver a Thanksgiving greeting:

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