The benefits and burdens of society should not depend on what we look like or where we come from.  Equality requires that we celebrate our differences while challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers.  Equality is both the absence of discrimination and the presence of fairness.

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Research Report: The State of Opportunity Report (2009)

This is the 2009 State of Opportunity report.  Here you may download the final report, the final report with accompanying charts, a synopsis, and each of the indicators individually.

Read more about the report here.

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Law and Policy Brief of The Opportunity Agenda as Amicus Curiae in Ricci v. DeStefano (2009)

The Opportunity Agenda filed an amicus brief  with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Ricci v. DeStefano.  In this case, the City of New Haven, CT, declined to certify the results of a firefighter promotion test based on evidence that the test was discriminatory in its operation, and fairer and more effective tests were available.  Firefighters who scored highly on the flawed test sued the city, claiming that throwing out the test discriminated against them based on their race.

Law and Policy Report: State Courts and Human Rights (2008 Edition)

humanRightsStateCourts.pngSince the last version of this report was released in 2007, state court decisions utilizing and interpreting international human rights law have increased in both number and depth of consideration.

Law and Policy Public Policy: An Act Establishing a Commission on Health Equity (2008)

In a tremendous victory for both health and human rights advocates, Connecticut has passed and signed into law legislation establishing a comprehensive Commission on Health Equity. The Commission is dedicated to addressing racial, ethnic, linguistic and other disparities in health care access and quality, and has been given an impressive and broad set of tools and powers to create health equity in the state. Perhaps most significantly for human rights advocates, the preamble to the law states Connecticut’s belief in a human right to health:

Law and Policy Brief of The Opportunity Agenda as Amicus Curiae in Loeffler v. Staten Island Univ. Hosp. (2008)

In this "friend-of-the-court" brief before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, The Opportunity Agenda urges the court to read the New York City Human Rights Law as its authors intended it to operate: as a broad protection for New Yorkers against all discrimination, even when caused by problematic systems rather than prejudiced individuals.  

Law and Policy Testimony: Recommendations for Ensuring Equitable Access and Quality in New York State Health Care System Reform (2007)

The Opportunity Agenda submitted the following testimony urging the State of New York to consider not just the issue of insurance coverage in reform efforts, but the deep and continuing problems of equal access and quality of care that many New Yorkers continue to struggle with.

In 2007, New York State began the "Partnership for Coverage" initiative, designed to build consensus and support for health care reform.  This testimony was submitted at one of the Departments of Health and Insurance's series of hearings.

Law and Policy Report: Human Rights In State Courts: An Overview and Recommendations for Legal Advocacy (2007)

Human rights are a crucial part of the United States’ legal and cultural foundation. The founders of our country declared that we are all created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights.

And the United States helped to craft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights system after World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust.

Communications Talking Points: The State of Opportunity Report (2009)

This memo offers guidance for using the 2009 State of Opportunity in America report, which examines various dimensions of opportunity, including health care, wealth and income, education, and incarceration. While expanding opportunity in America remains a goal of policymakers and advocates alike, this report finds that access to full and equal opportunity is still very much a mixed reality. Our recommendations to address this reality offer concrete ideas for moving us forward together.

Communications Talking Points: Opportunity and Economic Recovery (2009)

This memo offers communications advice for talking about protecting and expanding opportunity during the current economic downturn.  It draws on recent opinion research, media analysis, and experience from the field to offer promising approaches and messages.

Communications Talking Points: Talking About the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration (2008)

This memo provides advice on talking to broad audiences on human rights at home, in light of the 60 anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Outlined here are some principles that support domestic human rights campaigns and foster a long-term strategy in furthering a pro-human rights agenda.

Communications Talking Points: Expanding Opportunity For All - CERD (2008)

These talking points provide advice on talking with journalists and other general audiences about US compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Communications Talking Points: Health Equity in New York (2007)

Talking about the inherent unfairness and inequalities in our health care system is a critical contribution to New York’s ongoing dialogue about how to improve it.

Communications Toolkit: Community Values (2008)

commValuesToolkit.pngThis publication contains a balance of historical context, framing advice, resources, practical tools and strategies for moving toward a new political conversation.  

Communications Mapping: Health Care that Works One Pager (2006)

Read about our first online mapping project, Healthcarethatworks.org.  This tool tracks the closure of hospitals across the city of New York and shows the racial and economic makeup of the affected neighborhoods.

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Communications Talking Points: Immigration, Driver's Licenses (2007)

Originally written in November 2007, these are talking points for discussing New York’s (then) drivers’ license proposal.

Video Alan Jenkins on MSNBC Discussing the Economy

Alan Jenkins, executive director of The Opportunity Agenda, appears on MSNBC to discuss the economy and our new report, The State of Opportunity in America.

Video Video: Desireena Talks About Community

 A Filipina-American media producer talks about the support she receives from the gay community, and why strong, supportive communities are a key to opportunity.

Research Promoting Opportunity and Equality in America

In support of our ongoing efforts to expand opportunity in the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and The Opportunity Agenda have published a report entitled, "Promoting Opportunity and Equality in America: A Guide to Federal Circuit Authority on Permissible Government Actions to Promote Racial and Gender Equality."

Research Report: Identifying and Evaluating Equity Provisions in State Health Care Reform (2008)

This report seeks to identify state policies that promote equitable health care access and quality and to evaluate existing laws, regulations, or reform proposals in five states—Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and California. 

Research Report: Dangerous and Unlawful: Why Our Health Care System is Failing New York Communities and How to Fix It (2007)

dangerousUnlawful.pngThis report offers new and crucial information to the Governor and the Legislature as they consider what steps to take to ensure access to quality health care for everyone in the State.

Research Report: The State of Opportunity Update (2007)

This is the 2007 update to the State of Opportunity report.  There are two files, the full chart of indicators and a summary.

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Research Report: State of Opportunity (2006)

SoO2006_0.pngIf the promise of opportunity is a core national commitment, it is essential to measure our success in fulfilling that commitment.  This report assesses the nation’s progress toward protecting and expanding opportunity for all Americans and encourages our policymakers, through bold leadership and innovative policies, to ensure the promise of o

Research Report: Unequal Health Outcomes in the United States (2008)

Originally conceived as a “shadow report” to the 2007 U.S. Periodic Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, this report was written by a coalition of experts in the fields of health policy and environmental justice, including academics and members of civil society organizations working to advance the right to health and the right to a healthy environment in the United States.

Research Media Analysis: Immigration Coverage in Chinese-Language Newspapers (2008)

chineseLanguageNewspapers.pngThis report focuses on Chinese print media in the United States.

Research Brochure: About The Opportunity Agenda (2008)

Read about The Opportunity Agenda in our new brochure.

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Page Public Opinion Monthly (March 2012)

Public Opinion Monthly: Equal Opportunity and the Role of Government

By: Jill Mizell

Page Breaking Through the Clutter: Tips for Talking to the Mainstream Media About Economic Opportunity and Inequality in America

Download this document (PDF)

The mainstream media is a frustrating, but necessary, means of getting our ideas out to people who might support and join us. Here are a few ideas for getting beyond the distortions and clutter to reach everyday Americans:

Page Public Opinion Monthly (September 2010)

Public Support for Policies for Equal Recovery and Opportunity

Looking at the road ahead, Public Opinion Monthly reviewed public support for policies, which promote equal opportunity for more communities in our society.

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki

Page Public Opinion Monthly (May 2010)

Human rights are important to Americans, and most believe in protecting and defending these rights.  Many Americans agree on basic rights, such as equality, freedom from discrimination, and freedom from torture.  As the conversation gets more in-depth, however, beliefs and opinions involving rights become increasingly complex.  Indicative of these complexities are Americans' attitudes toward LGBT and reproductive rights.  Despite consensus that gays and lesbians face a great deal of discrimination, and the profuse declarations of freedom to "life,

Page The State of Opportunity: Measuring Equality in the Economic Downturn

State of Opportunity Equality Indicator Update

Recent analysis of government economic data by The Opportunity Agenda finds that national measures of opportunity are in decline and that unequal barriers to opportunity facing women and people of color do not rise or fall with the overall economy. A report analyzing updated equality indicators from The State of Opportunity in America concludes that economic recovery efforts must address racial and gender gaps in opportunity, as well as overall national indicators in employment, wages, poverty, and education.

Page Public Opinion Monthly (November 2009)

November Roundup:

Suspects of Terrorism and Due Process
Race in the Age of Obama

This month’s insight into the public mind is on rights for suspects of terrorism and due process, and racial attitudes in the age of Obama, a topic which we will continue to track and analyze here over time.

Page Our Executive Director Writes in The American Prospect

Alan Jenkins, Executive Director of The Opportunity Agenda, writes in The American Prospect on how continued racial barriers hold back our economy.

Blog Post Opportunity Impact Statement: Ensuring an Economy that Works

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Americans prioritize finding solutions for our economy and job creation, and it is clear that we need an economy that works for all of us. This means building the jobs and the infrastructure that will create equal opportunities for success for all Americans. In order to make smart and necessary decisions about how and where we spend our money, we need to evaluate the impact of spending, while also honoring our commitment to avoid engaging in discrimination.

Blog Post Will growing poverty affect election 2012? An interview and new national poll.

On January 17th, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity hosted a great forum in Washington, D.C. with pollsters—Celinda Lake, Jim McGlaglin and others—, members of the press and political analysts, including E.J. Dionne and Michael Gerson, to discuss whether and how growing poverty will affect the election in 2012. Following the event, I was interviewed to address that very question.

Blog Post Supporting Muslims at Christmas

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Photo by babasteve

Like millions of American men, my Christmas list includes a bunch of power tools and do-it-yourself gadgets. (I’ve been hinting to my wife for weeks that the power sander on sale at our local hardware store would, actually, benefit the whole family). But our Christmas shopping this year will not include the hardware mega-store Lowe’s.

Blog Post Immigration Blog Round Up, November 7

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Photo by ElvertBarnes

Following in the steps of Arizona, Georgia, Utah and Indiana, Alabama has joined the campaign of attrition against undocumented immigrants by implementing a new anti-immigrant law, HB 56.  While the law is similar to its counterparts – Arizona SB 1070 and Georgia HB 87, to name a few- it’s more restrictive. For example, it requires schools to check the immigration status of children and their parents. Since its enactment, the law has ignited fear, panic, and disruptions in the everyday lives of Latino communities, including U.S. citizens.  A significant number of Latino students have not been showing up to school, employees are not reporting to work, and homes have suddenly become uninhabited.

Blog Post Percentage thinking the US has fulfilled MLK Jr.’s vision drops to pre-Obama election levels; what happened?

When Barack Obama was running for President in April of 2008, slightly more than a third of the adults in the US thought that the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. as outlined in his “I Have a Dream” speech, had been fulfilled.  Just before Obama was sworn in as President in January of 2009, the perception that the King vision had already been fulfilled had swelled to nearly half of all adults in the US.  Perceptions of African Americans improved dramatically during this period increasing 30 points to 65% between April 2008 and January 2009.

Blog Post A Congratulatory Note to Our New Grads (With a Caveat)
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 Photo by Will Folsom

My niece—who is pursuing a degree in psychology—asked me last Sunday to review her essay on the American Dream for one of her English courses. Her essay began explaining what the “American Dream” ought to be: economic mobility, home ownership, and better education. But the remaining two pages offered a gloomy viewpoint: the American Dream has become more and more elusive for her.

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Round Up - Reproductive Rights

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Woman and daughter at Planned Parenthood Rally - photo by Warm Sleepy

Women’s Reproductive Rights Under Attack Yet Again

“History shows that when women and girls have access to opportunity, societies are more just, economies are more likely to prosper, and governments are more likely to serve the needs of all their people.” - President Barack Obama
 

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Round Up - International Women's Day

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Mothers march on 100th anniversary of International Women's Day in San Francisco
photo  by Steve Rhodes

ON 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, WOMEN STILL STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY

 

Blog Post Bi-Weekly Public Opinion Round Up - Marriage Equality

 

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 Photo by Fritz Liess

GROWING SUPPORT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY


 Obama Administration Announces It Will No Longer Defend the Defense of Marriage Act

Blog Post Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: 2010 is "The Year of the Woman?"

Women bring something different to the table; a perspective that is distinct from men’s. Both experiences are equally important, and both need to be incorporated in to decision-making and represented in power-circles if we hope to embrace all viewpoints and make progress as a society. Yet advancement for women and for gender equality seems to have stagnated, and considering how far we are from equality, stagnation is tantamount to decline.

Blog Post New Challenges, New Solutions

It’s in all of our interest to define common-sense solutions to jump-start our economic recovery and to push for innovative ideas that leave aside partisan politics.

Blog Post America Lags Behind on Equal Rights for LGBT Community

While Americans grappled over the military’s contentious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in court last week, the Argentine Senate passed a bill last Thursday legalizing gay marriage and allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.

Blog Post Dr. Rand Paul or: How I Learned To Fear the Tea Party

When Rand Paul won a primary last Tuesday, becoming Kentucky’s Republican nominee for the Senate, he declared himself a national leader of the Tea Party movement.  It was an important moment for the movement as it, coming on the heels of the election of Scott Brown to the Senate, served as another step in its potential transformation from a loosely confederated group of grassroots groups into national level political force.  But, as Dr. Paul’s attacks on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 just two days later highlighted, the true implications of the movement’s ideology are chilling to say the least.  

Blog Post Women Hold Up Half the Sky

In light of International Women’s Day and the 54th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, on Tuesday, March 9th, the Urban Agenda’s Human Rights Project, The National Council on Research for Women and the Center for Women’s Global Leadership joined together with The Opportunity Agenda to hold a side event at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Blog Post Framing and Reality TV

In her blog today, Arianna Huffington asks if CBS’s new reality offering, Undercover Boss, is the most subversive show on television. It’s a provocative question, as most of us would like to think that a reality show existed that could turn the genre on its head.

Blog Post A Government that Reflects America's Values

According to a 2007 poll, Americans define human rights as the rights to equal opportunity, freedom from discrimination, a fair criminal justice system, and freedom from torture or abuse by law enforcement. Despite the current political wrangling over how to reform it, a majority of Americans even believe that access to health care is a human right.

Blog Post Women Wouldn't Have Named it the iPad

An analysis of ten of Silicon Valley's largest companies shows that of their employees, just 33 percent are women. This is despite evidence that women in the workforce are clearly beneficial.

Blog Post The Disparate Impact of the Downturn

While it is a deeply-held American belief that we’re all in this together, there has long been a truism that when the economy gets a cold, the poor get pneumonia. It’s a glib way of noting that any downturn in the economy has a disparate impact on those least prepared to handle it.

Blog Post Equality Disparities in Tech Firms?

As seen in the chart below, that's been making the rounds, the stimulus is working. The Obama Administration, using numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is touting that the number of jobs lost is lessening.

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Blog Post Looking Ahead

Exactly one year ago our nation, and much of this world, was in a state of panic and turmoil. Companies and industries were shedding jobs faster than we could count. The stock market was tanking in front of our eyes. Waking up every morning to look at the headlines of the newspaper was a daunting task in fear of what a new day could bring to the American people. We needed a lifeline.

Blog Post The Damaging Effects of Inequality

Belief in opportunity is a bedrock American value. The lure of the hope that your circumstances will be dictated by your ability and your effort is the primary motivation that brings people from the rest of the world to our shores. Central to a belief in opportunity is the ideal of equality – the thought that we all begin from the same starting line.

Blog Post Long Overdue

In last week’s State of the Union Address, President Obama took a pivotal step towards repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Approximately 16 years later, this repeal is far overdue.

Blog Post State of the Union: Rhetoric to Reality on Expanding Opportunity

President Obama’s State of the Union address and the Republican Response by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell each called, as they should have, for a renewed focus by government on jobs and the economy.

Blog Post Corporate Cash Breeds Inequality

When the founding fathers gathered to declare independence, they were responding to consolidated power in the form of the monarchy and the church.  The system that they designed to govern the United States was intentionally complex and diffuse, with checks and balances in place to prevent any single individual or group from exerting undue influence over the process.  This past Thursday, with their ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court violated these intentions, enhancing the influence of a small handful of very powerful institutions and providing them with the tools to crowd out diverse voices.

Blog Post What Can an Equitable Recovery Look Like?

Recovery from a natural disaster should be able to make survivors “whole.” However, when the starting point is life in one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the Western hemisphere, getting back to normal becomes a trickier proposition.  Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere.  In 2003, 80% of the population was estimated to live under the international poverty line.  As demonstrated by the extended recovery process from Hurricane Katrina, economic condition has a determinative effect on the a

Blog Post New statistical profiles of Immigrants and Hispanics in the U.S. just released

The Pew Hispanic Center just released updated statistical profiles of immigrants (38 million foreign-born residents) and Hispanics (47 million) in the U.S. The profiles include a large spectrum of information such as occupation, industry,  income, poverty, or educational attainment by race and ethnicity in 2008, and how that compares to 2000.

The data is available at http://pewhispanic.org/factsheets/factsheet.php?FactsheetID=58

Blog Post An Economic Recovery for Everyone

Today, the public will get a look at how funds distributed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are being spent when the reports from agencies receiving these stimulus funds are released.

Blog Post Blog Action Day: Climate Change

Today is blog Action Day. In the organizers' own words:

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be the largest-ever social change event on the web. One day. One issue. Thousands of voices.

Blog Post Race and Law Enforcement: What We Do Know

Only two people know what actually went down between Professor Henry Louis Gates and Sergeant James Crowley last week, and even they disagree—apparently in good faith—about what transpired. So as the two prepare to have a beer with President Obama later this week, let’s move on to a more productive conversation about race and law enforcement.

Blog Post Counting All Votes

An equal right to vote is at the core of our democracy. With an African American in the White House, it’s increasingly popular to believe that racial bias no longer exists, especially when it comes to voting. There’s no doubt that our nation has made significant progress in securing equal opportunity, but there’s still a long way to go. That’s why it was so important that the Supreme Court left in tact a key provision of the Voting Rights Act earlier this week.

Blog Post Real Choices for Reproductive Justice

It is certainly an important time for America's discussions of health, but also an important time to talk about equality in America as it relates to access to reproductive health care.

Blog Post Separate and Unequal

The theme of equality was central to our nation’s founding, with the declaration that “all men are created equal.” Our country’s history has witnessed the gradual evolution of that core principle from a ruling class that countenanced slavery and subordination toward an egalitarian vision that embraces the inherent equality of all people. We fought a civil war in part to give life to this proposition. It is embodied in our Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under law, and in the other Civil War amendments.

Blog Post The Power of a Diverse Supreme Court

In nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the President has made good on his promise to appoint someone with stellar qualifications and intellect who understands the experiences of everyday Americans. Raised in a Bronx housing project by her widowed single mother, Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and has had a remarkable legal career as a prosecutor, a private attorney, a trial court judge, and an appellate judge.

Blog Post Getting Real About Inequality

I’ll admit that I love “fake” news sources—The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Huffington Post’s 236—for their willingness to cut through the spin and say what we’re all thinking. My favorite, though, is The Onion. With only a headline, or even a caption, The Onion can make an insightful point about a topic that might be too uncomfortable to discuss were it not couched in a joke.

Blog Post Educational Inequality: Failing Our Students, Failing Ourselves

The theory behind high-quality public education is that there’s real value—civic, economic, and cultural—in providing every member of our society with the tools to fully utilize his or her potential.   When we all understand our civic rights and obligations, our democracy is stronger.  When we’re all skilled, our economy is more robust.  When our imaginations flourish, our culture is richer.  Conversely, when we systematically fail to provide some members of our nation with a quality education, we preclude these individuals from making their full contributions to our nation, our economy, and our culture.  It is disturbing, then, that persistent educational inequalities exist.

Blog Post Thursday Immigration Blog Roundup 4/2/09

This week's blog roundup includes coverage on immigration-related news from a few states, including New Jersey, and some reports reviewing DHS.

The Blue Panel report on integrating immigrants in New Jersey, commissioned by Governor Corzine, is finally out.  Recommendations include:

Blog Post Van Jones as Green Jobs Czar

Brentin Mock at The American Prospect reports on the nomination of West Coast green jobs and urban revitalization advocate Van Jones to the White House position of Green Jobs Czar. Van Jones is the founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Green For All.  He is author of the New York Times Bestseller The Green Collar Economy.

Blog Post Emerging Research on Health Care as a Human Right: They Get It

And by "they", we mean the very audiences we need in order to change the conversation about health in this country:  politically active moderates and liberals.  Recent focus groups with these audiences show an apparently growing comfort with not only declaring health as a human right, but also in recognizing what that would mean to health care reform. 

Blog Post Investing in Early Education Equality

Education is perhaps the closest thing we have to a social panacea.  When it works, it can fuel social mobility, economic productivity, crime prevention, and personal fulfillment.  And we know that the earlier a child enters school, the more likely he or she is to have a successful academic career.  So why is it so hard to make universal preschool a national priority?

Blog Post An Internship Where We Pay You

In a piece for Slate.com, Timothy Noah writes about the disturbing phenomenon of putting coveted summer internships up for auction at elite private schools. Clearly this is putting those who cannot pay, but are well qualified for the position, at an immediate disadvantage. Opportunity is quite literally being sold to the highest bidder.

Blog Post The State of Opportunity in America (2009) Released

The Opportunity Agenda is pleased to announce the release of our 2009 State of Opportunity in America report. The report documents America’s progress in protecting opportunity for everyone who lives here, and finds that access to full and equal opportunity is still very much a mixed reality.

Blog Post The Sweet Chord of Opportunity

Miles Davis has long been regarded as one of the leading performers and songwriters in the history of Jazz. And this month, Kind of Blue—what is regarded as his best album, and the best album in all of jazz for that fact—celebrated its 50th anniversary. The album, which went quadruple platinum a few months ago, is a strong reminder as to the power rhythmic chords have in creating harmony and equality amongst peoples.

Blog Post Dr. King's Modern Legacy

In the days just before and after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 80th birthday, I had the opportunity to visit two places that are integral to his modern day legacy: Washington, DC and the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. As I witnessed the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president, I thought of Dr. King’s admonition, in his 1963 I Have a Dream Speech, that “we cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.” Despite some continuing problems at the ballot box, this was an election about which Dr. King could be truly satisfied; African Americans turned out in record numbers to elect the nation’s first African-American president.

In the same speech, Dr. King reminded the nation that “when the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights’ of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

For anyone who’s visited the Gulf Coast recently, it is obvious that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as the people of the Lower Ninth Ward—overwhelmingly poor and African-American—are concerned. The world witnessed in 2005 how our government left the region’s people to drown in their homes and suffer unspeakable conditions in the New Orleans Convention Center and Superdome. More than three years later, that abandonment continues.

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