Joint Center Urges Bush to Pursue Common Ground on Critical Economic, Social Goals

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Ralph B. Everett, president and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, urges President Bush to use his last year in office to pursue urgent, unmet needs such as decent health care, jobs, housing and educational opportunities for millions of Americans.

Ralph B. Everett, president and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, urges President Bush to use his last year in office to pursue urgent, unmet needs such as decent health care, jobs, housing and educational opportunities for millions of Americans.

With one year left in office, President Bush still has an opportunity to break new ground in addressing the key concerns of African Americans and other people of color -- namely, health, employment, education, environment and the revitalization of our communities. While his State of the Union address last night did not indicate any plans to do that, the Joint Center stands ready to work with his administration in developing a robust policy foundation for the expansion of hope and opportunity across this country.

The Joint Center's long experience in policy research and analysis on issues of importance to African Americans - as well as our deep relationships with political and community leaders across the nation - could readily be brought to bear in any earnest effort to help our communities confront a multitude of challenges. As the nation's premier African American think tank, we have studied issues impacting communities of color in the areas of health, including such things as health status, racial and ethnic health disparities, access to care, as well as critical topics related to economic empowerment, such as employment, education and income. For example, we have examined how events such as the sub-prime mortgage meltdown are impacting disproportionately upon people of color, and we have carefully analyzed the policy options for mitigating its effects and such things from happening again.

As a recession looms and minority communities brace for its worst effects, now is not the time to be hesitant, to stand pat or to decry the complexity of the challenges before us. No matter how daunting our problems, we expect our nation's leaders to vigorously search for solutions that will work.

Accordingly, we appeal to President Bush to take another look at the state of our union - and at his fellow citizens whose most urgent needs for decent health care, jobs, housing and educational opportunities continue to be unmet. We urge him to think anew about how this nation can invigorate America's neglected neighborhoods and rural areas. And we ask him to lead the way toward common ground on resolving the deepening economic and social crisis that affects a large portion of the country's communities of color, where people do not have another year to waste. There is still time to have an impact and make a difference, and to truly uplift the hopes and aspirations of all Americans. We offer our support and our best effort to make that happen.

The Joint Center is one of the nation's premier research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. The Joint Center's activities are focused on improving the socioeconomic status of black Americans and other minorities, expanding their effective participation in the political and public policy arenas, and promoting communications and relationships across racial and ethnic lines to strengthen the nation's pluralistic society.

For more information and access to the Joint Center Journal, the organization's blog, go to http://www.jointcenter.org.

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