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And here’s one example: Alabama will lose approximately $11 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 150 teachers and aide jobs at risk. In addition, about 21,000 fewer students would be served and about 40 fewer schools would receive funding. In addition, Alabama will lose about $9 million in funds for about 110 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

These are critical issues that directly impact millions of African Americans.

On Monday, the White House hosted a Town Hall health symposium specifically designed for African Americans. On Tuesday, the White House will honor ten leaders who have devoted their time to helping further education among African Americans.  On Wednesday, Obama will speak on Capitol Hill for the dedication of a statue to Rosa Parks. And in May, Obama will deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Two weeks ago, Obama spoke to 500 students at Hyde Park Academy High School in a predominantly black section of Chicago and he also met privately for an hour with 16 black male students who are experiencing a myriad of challenges in their lives.

In an interview at the White House earlier this month, Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser, said Obama takes his role as a mentor to black males seriously.

“This is very personal for him because he didn’t have a father,” Jarrett said of the president during a one-hour session at the White House with six African American journalists.  “He was raised by a single mom so he knows the challenges.”

These series of events by the president is no coincidence.

The White House has adjusted the president’s schedule to include meetings with African American leaders, sessions with black male teens, and recent interviews with radio talk show hosts Rev. Al Sharpton, Yolanda Adams and Joe Madison.

The customer in my barber shop is right: Obama will become a more vocal and effective advocate for black Americans as he settles into his second term.

In fact, he’s already started.

What do you think?

(Photo: AP)

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