Seeing a Black president enter office was a dream come true for many African-Americans in 2008. Then the economic recession followed and for many African-Americans it was the great depression as unemployment numbers skyrocketed to 16.8 percent in March 2010. As of December 2015, that number has dropped to 8.3 percent. Much of it has to do with Obama's administration working to mend the crippling economy.
Members of President Obama's cabinet spoke on a White House hosted call Thursday afternoon and discussed how African-Americans have made economic progress under the Obama administration.
Those featured included Jason Furman, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and Maria Contreras-Sweet of the Small Business Administration.
"There is more we need to do to create jobs and to raise wages," said Furman. He described Obama's push to expand minimum wage to $12 an hour and cutting taxes for two million African-American families. And the addition of thousands of jobs have relieved many who were out of work for years.
Infrastructure and transportation methods may be a barrier to getting to work, Foxx acknowledged on the call. "We recognize that transportation could and should do more than just connect folks from point A to point B," Foxx explained. "But that transportation can play a role to bringing opportunity to their door steps." These fixes have included improving the bus system in Detroit and building a light rail in Crenshaw, Los Angeles, that enabled people to get to work.
Obama recently signed a $305 billion bill that will improve highways and continue to expand transportation options in cities everywhere.
Castro said there has been a push to bring job training and high speed Internet access to public housing in 28 communities to even the playing field when it comes technology.
"We know that when the African-American community succeeds, the entire nation succeeds," said Castro.
Additionally, the Small Business Administration has helped lessen discrimination against Blacks who are seeking loans for their businesses through several initiatives, one including LINC, a site where lenders are unable to see the race and ethnicity of those requesting loans. Additionally, they have joined the "Ban the Box" campaign, which removes the section of an application that asks about criminal history, which often prevents many who have served their time from obtaining loans to start a small business.
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(Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)