From The Grio — This week the National Policy Alliance, a coalition of 10 member organizations representing over 11,000 elected officials, sat down with President Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss a plethora of pressing policy issues.

The meeting, which was hosted by senior Obama advisor Valerie Jerrett, focused on job creation, judicial appointments, economic growth, education and health care. This was a break from the usual civil rights suspects from the African-American community who have had, at best, minimal access to the White House. Representing organizations that are made up of black elected officials from the local level to congress, NPA leadership provided the president with a ground level account of the challenges many African-Americans are facing in both rural and urban areas of the US.

But would this meeting address the ongoing questions related to a black agenda in the White House, or more important, a black agenda presented for the White House to respond to? With the monstrous double-digit unemployment numbers facing the black community, the state of urban schools, and the countless number of other policy issues facing the African-American community, many are wondering why there has not been a specific policy focus on blacks in the president’s first two years.

Strong criticism has been directed at the White House by black leaders, who claim the president has not done enough, if anything, for black and poor Americans. Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West have been consistently critical, going as far as entertaining the notion of supporting a progressive candidate against the president in the upcoming Democratic primary. Others, like Rev. Al Sharpton, and the NAACP‘s Ben Jealous are less critical, but equally concerned about the White House’s priority list when it comes to suffering communities.

The meeting this week would not however be the silver bullet black agenda meeting that many have been waiting for. However, neither the White House, nor those black leaders in attendance would call it a waste. In fact, the president allocated more time with the group than was scheduled, spending considerable attention engaging the group on the value of the tax cut deal recently passed by the Senate. This meeting was different than previous meetings that focused on the African-American community. The priority for this meeting was local issues and the messengers were state, county and local leaders. This was the first time the NPA was able to address the president, and they used the time to, in their words, “establish a relationship that would set the environment for a proposed agenda”.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • African Mami

    Rome was not built in a day. This man is not God, with the ability to perform miracles. People need to understand that when it comes to matters pertaining to economics, unemployment, government legislature etc. there are policies to be enacted, bureaucratic hurdles to be overcome,external factors that cannot be controlled e.g. the domino effect as a result of the economic recession i.e. cost of living rises, companies start to fold, unemployment numbers start to increase, folks are cash strapped leading to foreclosures and what have you’s. President Obama came in at a very CRITICAL time in this country. The damage was already done. The repair of it will not take 1, 2 or even 3 years, give it more than 5 years! Of course there are certain groups affected more than others, BUT let patience prevail. It’s easier to see faults, than to see the small strides that have been made.

  • Laila Apples

    The post should have also stated that despite the fact that there is no black agenda that there is a
    hispanic agenda
    lgbt agenda
    military agenda
    etc.

    The post should have also stated that no other group that voted for Obama did so for nothing.

    1.Everyone and every group of people that voted for Obama,voted for him with the expectations that Obama and his office would push forward their agenda.
    2.Everyone and every group that voted for Obama expected to get something out of him being president.

    Yet somehow some black people would like to ostracise black people like me that fully expects Obama to deliver on his campaign promises.

    This post should have stated the fact that no other group voted for Obama in larger numbers than black Americans did.
    Not white women
    Not latino/hispanics
    Not white men
    Religious groups etc.

    All these other groups strongly believe that because they voted for Obama he works for them.They expect him to do things that will make their lives a little more easier.

    Why is it wrong for me to expect for Obama to do something to make my life a tad easier? voted for him as well.Is it because I’m black?

  • S.

    I wish the Black leaders and Black people who expect Obama to do more for the “Black community” are putting their money where their mouths are as well