Thursday, March 20, 2008

Barack Obama's Speech on Racism and Religion

As many of you may know (and have already watched or read), Barack Obama gave a speech on Tuesday in response to controversial comments about racism and US foreign relations by his minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Whether you are voting for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or even Ralph Nader, I'm sure we can all agree that what Obama says in this speech is perhaps the most honest treatment of racism and religion that I've heard in my lifetime.
You can read the transcript of the speech printed in the New York Times.
You can also watch the video of the speech.
Many people ask me why I, as a 23-year-old, college-educated, white woman from Eugene, OR would want to be working with predominantly African-American middle school and high school students from inner city Chicago. The reason is the myriad of reasons given in Obama's speech about how our country is still suffering from racism and inequality 143 years after slavery.

2 comments:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

To me a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program that connects volunteers from diverse economic, social, religious, and ethinc backgrounds, with inner city kids who are mostly Black or Hispanic, is one of the best strategies to cross the racial, and economic, divides that separate us.

This is because we don't focus on race, we focus on ways we can help kids born in poverty be starting jobs/careers by their mid 20s.

Yet, the longer we each stay connected, the more we learn about each other, and our differences, and the challenges our kids face growing up in a society that still makes it harder for people of color to have equal opportunity and equal treatment.

I have been involved with this for more than 30 years and don't claim to understand racism from the perspective of a Black person. However, I do undertand the issues far more than I every would have because of my long-term involvement with a tutor/mentor program.

Thus, our goal in the Tutor/Mentor Connection is to help more programs like Cabrini Connections grow in all high poverty areas of the city, helping kids to careers, while helping bridge the many divides that separate us.

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