President Obama’s Oval Office speech last night the end of combat in Iraq was also in part a message about job creation, and improving the economy. In this interview, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous analyzes the president’s speech, while discussing in what ways the US can move beyond these economic struggles.
Jealous also talks about One Nation, a coalition of 170 organizations which launches today, and is expected to have a march in two weeks, one of many coming up. The coalition’s march’s main focus says Jealous is “bringing people back together”.
Jealous defends the president and his policies, but places the blame solely upon the shoulders of the Senate and state houses by saying, “This president has never really been our obstacle in getting this country to focus on job creation, but we’ve seen obstruction after obstruction inside the US Senate, inside of state houses across this country, so this [the march] is about that mainstream of this country who believes in hope, who believes in inclusion, and who believes that jobs and schools should be job one, coming together to have their voices heard.”
When discussing the on-going debate between DC Mayoral Candidates Vincent Gray, and Adrian Fenty, Jealous is quick to point out that his daughter attends one of these DC schools and that “schools here have been moving in a good direction.” However, he states that there is much work to be done, and that the topics of the debate should be one in the same.
“We all have to focus on making sure that every public school is a great school, and that our country needs to do the four things that all countries that lead the world, and all states that lead this country do.” It needs to focus on teacher training, we need to make sure that we focus resources to the kids who need them most, we need to extend the school day and the school year, and we need to make sure that all kids like my daughter have access to free, universal, pre-k.”