Whereas we as Americans once took pride in our educational preeminence internationally, we have fallen to 16th place in college degree completion. We have not kept pace internationally because in spite of our national wealth, we have neglected our poor children.
Throughout our nation, this fear of confronting the past makes it more difficult to address and remedy the ongoing existence of urban ghettos, the persistence of the black-white achievement gap, and the continued under-representation of African Americans in higher education.
In those words lies the connection to the movement for Fair Food that prompted me to stop and reflect on the passing of Nelson Mandela in Immokalee. Farm labor poverty must be addressed so that workers can be freed from crippling fear and empowered to stand up for their rights.
The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a multiracial movement. And like 50 years ago, today many of the disparities -- wealth, unemployment, and income -- are not only experienced by African Americans, but exist in varied forms among all people of color.
Yes, it is an unfair system and minorities, those who have darker skin in particular, are treated inequitably by it. The injustices stretch far beyond the American courtroom, beyond a single verdict or a handful of verdicts. So, what are we going to do about it?
The Obama Administration could provide a national focus for all these efforts with a signature program to close the achievement gap, not displacing the contributions of community and business but facilitating and focusing them. Why not?
Whites with felony convictions are more likely to be hired than African Americans without any criminal background. You can wish away these facts, and erase these experiences, but denial and silence will not lead to change.
We usually don't think about infant mortality in the United States. We associate it with the developing world or with the distant past. The fact that the U.S. has the highest infant mortality is not because of a lack of specialists or facilities.