By Ryan Velez
The African-American community is in the midst of a frightening situation, going from the first African-American president to one hard at work to undo much of what Obama created. In this context, it is important to see what Black people have managed to do and accomplish during this time, making it a great time for the National Urban League’s State of Black America report. The Network Journal recently interviewed Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, to share some major points of the report. Leading figures like Senator Cory Booker, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, Michael Eric Dyson and others provided commentary and analysis to the report.
The good news is that, while incremental, many important statistics are moving in the right direction. The overall unemployment rate and Black rates are down since the recession, but this is only the start. “When it comes to schools and education, the high school graduation rate is higher, and the high school dropout rate is lower. When it comes to healthcare, the disparity between Blacks and white is narrowing and the number of Blacks who are uninsured has been cut in half,” he says, saying while these steps may not be too much to celebrate, they bear noting.
However, the theme of the report is “Protect Our Progress,” placing into clear focus the threats to the Black community under President Trump. Some of the biggest threats that he notes are the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which would instantly render millions without insurance. There may also be a pullback on enforcement of civil rights laws, voting rights laws, and other laws that enforce accountability when dealing with the black community. In addition, there is also the threat of major budget cuts that could hurt programs that allow people to work to enter the middle class.
A major part of the report that no other type of study has is the Equality Index. At 72%, this is the social and economic status of Black versus white, compared to 78% for Latinos. “We’ve seen little change in the overall number because some things go up and some go down within a year’s time, but the National Urban League has the only true statistical measuring stick of equality in the country. No one else prepares and publishes this, so it gives us a good analysis of where we are when it comes to equality gaps in the country,” says Morial.