For months, reports have emerged suggesting that President Obama is losing Black support. Tuesday night, however, as hundreds of young, African-American professionals gathered in Manhattan to watch President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, a number of them spoke enthusiastically about the president.
“We love him,” Brian Benjamin, founder of Young Professionals United 4 Change, the sponsoring organization of the event, tells BET.com. “One of the things we saw in the State of the Union is the president talk about this whole idea of fairness across the board — with American businesses, the education system and in foreign policy. As the beneficiaries of the civil rights generation, we get what he’s saying.”
Although the few past years have been financially tough, many of those in attendance, like accountant Calcie Cooper, real estate broker Thomas Lopez-Pierre and graphic designer Carla Brown, say they are willing to give the president more time to get his job done.
“I give him my support because he walked into a very tough situation,” says Brown. “He walked into the economy when it bottomed out. To come in and make any sort of change is better than President Bush who walked into an economy that was great and tanked it.”
“I have had my differences with the president,” Balla says. Despite his frustration, he says that he continues to support Obama and that his speech served as a reminder that there is still an opportunity for change. "I appreciate that he talked about the idea of funding young entrepreneurs to help them create jobs for the economy. I felt that he was talking directly to me,” says Balla. “I think four more years is what we will need for him to push his policies and agenda.”
Of the numerous topics discussed, those present agreed that jobs still remain a top priority for the Black middle class.
“Whether people are young, old, middle class or poor, that’s what’s hitting us the most,” says Marc Jenkins, president of the New York Black Expo.
In addition, Jenkins wants to see not just employment for Black communities, but better paying opportunities as well.
“Yes, I am a part of the Black middle class, and I am also struggling, I am working three jobs right now,” he says.
Despite the hardships communities of color have especially faced, many Black professionals remain united for change in support of the president.
“I believe change is going to come. There was a lot he had to clean up,” says Jenkins.
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(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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