President Barack Obama met with high-profile African-American community leaders yesterday at the White House.

The gathering was a chance for the president to reiterate his policies and continue dialogue with the men and women who have the ear of the black American population.

Among the attendees on Thursday were the Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP President Ben Jealous and Avis Jones-DeWeever, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women.

During the gathering in the Roosevelt Room, Obama talked about strengthening the economy for the middle class and his plans to build opportunities for those striving to get there.

He also restated his commitment to readdress inequalities by creating jobs for the under- and unemployed, invest in socially-deprived areas and expand pre-kindergarten education to decrease the achievement gap.

“We had a productive conversation about how to make our economy more inclusive,” said Jealous. “We are pleased that President Obama has responded to our calls for universal pre-K and a livable minimum wage.

“We will support him in his effort to bring jobs back to the United States, especially to disadvantaged neighborhoods. These are not partisan issues; they are American issues.”

“The meeting was constructive, the President listened closely, and there was a very positive exchange of views,” Ralph Everett, president of the Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies, told theGrio.“Clearly the president fully understands the concerns of the African-American community.”

“We need to be working in partnership to do all we can to focus on growth in jobs in every sector. President Obama has set forth a plan that is sensible for the country to continue its economic recovery. We look forward to a continuing dialogue and discussion,” added Everett.

President Obama and the leaders expressed concern about the need to implement improvements to the voting process so every American eligible to vote has the opportunity to cast their ballot.

Obama called on the collective to continue dialogue on the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. He also praised the participants for their leadership on a range of issues crucial to improving the economy and strengthening the country.

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