Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons would like President Barack Obama to use his “loud voice” when addressing issues that affect the black community.
In speaking about the President’s need to address issues specifically in the African American community, Simmons admits that the President needs to speak for not “just to black America, but to all America.”
Simmons says he is worried about issues specifically affecting the black community such as mass incarceration, poor education standards, and high levels of poverty.
In his open letter to President Obama, the hip hop mogul says he is “deeply concerned about the future of urban America, specifically the plight of people of color.”
In his open letter to the President, Simmons outlines the following areas where he believes the President could make a difference:
1. End the “War on Drugs.” For the past forty years, we have unsuccessfully waged a war against our own people, creating a “baby to prison” pipeline that has annihilated the working population of young black and brown men. Through the use of archaic and unjust laws, we have been able to warehouse millions of prisoners, many of whom were first-time, non-violent offenders. The solution to our drug problem is not imprisoning more people, it is rehabilitation, fair laws and drug courts.
2. Continue the viscous assault on the eradication of poverty. Levels of poverty have hit an all-time high during this recession, however we have solutions that can bring these numbers down. We should continue to innovate programs for the most vulnerable, including job-training (technical skills), fatherhood classes, healthcare prevention, teen-pregnancy prevention, after-school activities (including arts and sports) and more access to healthier foods.
3. Build the best and affordable education system in the world. Your understanding of education as a path out of poverty has resonated with millions of families in this country. Your protection of Pell grants, promotion of community colleges and the “race to the top” initiative have been some of your greatest accomplishments in your first term. The 2020 goal of America having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world is attainable and we should keep fighting to reach it.
Simmons sent the letter to President Obama over fears that destitution has become the “status-quo” and not the exception. Simmons says a national emergency would be called if the same problems started to exist in white neighborhoods.
Do you agree with Russell Simmons‘ open letter to President Obama