In this week’s address, the President reiterated his commitment to expanding access to education, and to spreading the joy of reading to more children and young adults.
Earlier this week, the President announced two new efforts that, building on the progress already made by his ConnectED initiative, will do just that: a challenge to mayors, libraries, and school leaders to help every student get a library card; and commitments from libraries and major publishers to provide more than $250 million in free e-Books for low-income students. In his address, the President also previewed his upcoming commencement speech at Lake Area Tech, in Watertown, South Dakota, where he will discuss his plan to make two years of community college as free and universal for every American as high school is today.
The President is working to ensure every child has the access to the education and resources they need to be successful.
Attorney General Eric Holder bid a final farewell to what he predicts will be recognized in the next half-century as a new “Golden Age” at the Department of Justice, leaving behind a historic six-year tenure as the first African-American man to serve as the nation’s top attorney.
“This is something that has meant the world to me, it has helped define me as an individual and as a lawyer, as a man,” Holder said in his final send-off Friday with the department employees who served under him. […]
In a nod to his historic achievements, the Justice Department released a video earlier in the day featuring prominent politicians from President Bill Clinton to Rep. John Lewis to Sen. Patrick Leahy, describing Holder’s legacy as “the people’s lawyer.” […]
Slipping off his wrist a black band with the inscription “Free Eric Holder” – a fashion statement among his supporters in the Justice Department during the months-long stand-off over Lynch’s confirmation – Holder tossed the rubber bracelet into the crowd in his final act as attorney general.
“I think we can officially say now that Eric Holder is free,” he said.
On April 22, Earth Day 2015, President Barack Obama will travel to Everglades National Park in Florida and talk about man-made climate change.
… on Earth Day, I’m going to visit the Florida Everglades to talk about the way that climate change threatens our economy. The Everglades is one of the most special places in our country. But it’s also one of the most fragile. Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure – and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry – at risk.
Obama’s choice of the Florida Everglades as the setting for the speech is significant for the ecologically delicate nature of the area, as well as the fact that parts of the state are already routinely dealing with the effects of sea level rise as a result of climate change. Miami is regularly subject to “sunny day flooding” when tidal waters back up through the city’s drains. […]
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for the presidency in 2016, has questioned the role of humans in climate change and voted against an amendment holding Congress to the view that humans are causing climate change.
With legislative efforts dead on Capitol Hill in the face of Republican opposition, Obama has sought to move forward on his own in ways large and small. The trip, on Earth Day, to the 734 square-mile tropical wetlands is aimed at highlighting a region that the administration said is threatened by global warming.
“The Everglades are flat, and they border a rising ocean,” Brian Deese, a senior adviser to Obama, wrote on the White House blog. “As the sea levels rise, the shorelines erode, and that salty water travels inland, threatening the aquifers supplying fresh drinking water to Floridians.”
Deese tied the potential damage to the economy — namely, the state’s tourism industry — and added that “we’re far beyond a debate about climate change’s existence. We’re focused on mitigating its very real effects here at home.”
Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people.
“When I take Malia and Sasha down with Michelle next week, down to Selma, part of what I’m hoping to do is to remind them of their own obligations. Because there are going to be marches for them to march, and struggles for them to fight”
Bright Hawaiian lei will be on full display this weekend when President Barack Obama, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis and others march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to mark the anniversary of the civil rights protests.[…]
In photos of the 54-mile third march from Selma to Montgomery on March 21, 1965, Martin Luther King, John Lewis and other demonstrators can be seen wearing the iconic Hawaiian flower garlands.
The journey of those flowers from Hawaii to Alabama started a year earlier, when King delivered a lecture at the University of Hawaii. It was there that he met Rev. Abraham Akaka, the brother of future U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.
In the lead-up to the third march, as President Lyndon Johnson was making preparations to protect the demonstrators with military policemen and the Alabama National Guard, Rev. Akaka sent gifts of bright white lei from the Pacific Ocean to the Deep South to be draped on the marchers.
For the reverend, it was a symbolic gesture that affirmed Asian-American support for the civil rights movement.
Now, 50 years later, Lewis and Hawaii native Obama will join Asian-American lawmakers Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Mark Takai, among nearly 100 lawmakers, to pay homage to the civil rights movement and “Bloody Sunday.”
The first black president, born in Hawaii, will be wearing a lei to honor the civil rights movement.