Though President Barack Obama has been the target of heated criticism for his perceived reluctance to directly address the ills that plague the African-American community, he is not shy about asking for our vote. Just in time for Black History Month, Obama has launched the African-Americans for Obama campaign to energize and mobilize Black supporters to “Barack the Vote” once again when they go to the polls in November.
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In the video, he shares his understanding of the plight of everyday Americans and juxtaposes it with emotional — or so he hopes — references to the Civil Rights Movement and slavery and urges Black voters to “keep making history”:
This month we are announcing the 2012 launch of African Americans for Obama. I don’t think there’s a better time than African-American history month to consider the tremendous progress that we’ve made through the sacrifices of so many, or a better time to commit to meeting the very real challenges we face right now.
Every day I think of the generations of African-American men and women who overcame slavery and oppression, risked their own safety to cast a ballot, even gave up their lives to help build a country that lived up to its founding principles. Their extraordinary hope, their unwavering determination changed this country. Their efforts made it possible for somebody like me to be here today.”
Beginning in November, when Obama surprised attendees of the first African-American Policy In Action Leadership Conference, and gaining momentum with the White House release of “The President’s Agenda and the African-American Community,” the president has quietly tried to staunch the flow of resentment that many in the Black community feel for his seemingly blatant lack of disregard for the nearly 16 percent unemployment rate – nearly double the national average — and his continued focus on the middle-class while an estimate 27.4 percent of African-Americans are living below the poverty line.
Still, according to a statement on BarackObama.com, that shouldn’t stop African-Americans from coming out in droves in November in support of the president:
In some ways this election is more important than the last for our community. If we fail to re-elect President Obama, some people will say everything we’ve accomplished since 2008 was a fluke. That’s why we’ve got to speak loudly about his accomplishments and make sure that, throughout the campaign, we’ve got President Obama’s back.”
For many in the African-American community, that decision hinges upon clear evidence that Obama has ours.
To learn more about the campaign, click here.