August 15, 2020

Juneteenth Emancipation Anniversary Doubles as Call for Reform of Big Government Policies Limiting Liberty, Pinching Privacy

Black Activists Suggest People Assess Extent of Their Freedom

Washington, DC – On “Juneteenth,” the oldest and most-recognized observance of the demise of slavery in the United States, members of the Project 21 black leadership network are suggesting that black Americans make a personal assessment of how much freedom they actually enjoy these days and how they may be able to expand upon that freedom in the future through limits on government expansion.

Juneteenth, an official holiday or observance in at least 40 states, is on June 19.

“For what began as a celebration of black Americans’ release from chattel slavery, Juneteenth is important to remember today because all Americans forget at their peril that freedom doesn’t come for free,” said Project 21’s Stacy Swimp , a frequent speaker at and sponsor of past Juneteenth celebrations in Michigan. “More than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln, slavery still exists in America today in the form of too many Americans who suffer from a social, moral, economic and spiritual bondage springing forth from expanding government and entitlements and offers of false salvation. This new slavery robs people of their God-given and constitutionally-protected freedoms, and Juneteenth should be a time to reflect on this crisis and begin to take that freedom back.”

Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. Those soldiers informed residents in the area that the Civil War was over and that President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had already abolished slavery two-and-a-half years earlier.

Galveston’s former slave population began celebrating their freedom on the anniversary of this day in an event that became known as Juneteenth. The commemoration became a stabilizing and motivating presence among black Texans experiencing new uncertainties associated with their newfound freedom and their full integration into American society.

The observance of Juneteenth and the event’s emphasis on self-improvement and advancement soon spread from Texas to be recognized in communities across the United States.

While Juneteenth is often celebrated with festive event such as picnics and parades, there is still an emphasis on self-improvement and education that is considered an integral part of the observance.

“As a child growing up in Fulshear, Texas, Juneteenth was always a festive day to remember the good news received in nearby Galveston in 1865. It was the opportunity to make good on the dreams of freedom envisioned by newly-freed slaves. I was always told to remember the sacrifices of those who came before me,” said Project 21’s Carl Pittman “It is unfortunate, however, that many blacks simply moved from one plantation to another over 149 years. An entitlement mentality has removed the sense of pride that was once so dominant in the black community. Government expands to keep up with the growing demand for entitlements, essentially becoming a new slavemaster by providing free health care, food, cell phones, housing and more. Too many blacks over the generations have become so dependent they cannot leave this new plantation, and thus they will continue to support an ideology that will eventually and undoubtedly fail them.”

At a time when there is widespread concern over the size and scope of government and its intrusion into daily life and peoples’ privacy, members of Project 21 suggest that this year’s observance include extra attention to how freedom may be at risk and what people can do, by themselves or working with others, to reform government policies that limit their freedom.

“At a time when there is widespread concern over the size and scope of government and its intrusion into our daily lives, I suggest this year’s observance include extra attention to how we as a people are truly free,” said Project 21’s Gregory Parker, a former county commissioner in Comal County, Texas.

In 2014, Project 21 members have been interviewed or cited by the media over 800 times — including TVOne, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fox News Channel, Westwood One, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, SiriusXM satellite radio and 50,000-watt talk radio stations such as WBZ-Boston and KDKA-Pittsburgh — on issues that include civil rights, entitlement programs, the economy, race preferences, education and corporate social responsibility. Project 21 has participated in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding race preferences and voting rights and defended voter ID laws at the United Nations. Its volunteer membership comes from all walks of life and are not salaried political professionals.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Desegregation Decision Commemorated

Jim Crow Banished, But Failing Public Schools a Crisis for Many Black Youth

Vouchers and Other Alternatives to Failing Public Schools Needed for Full Equality of Opportunity

Washington, DC – On the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling that mandated desegregation in American public schools, members of the Project 21 black leadership network commend the necessary desegregation of public education, but point out that providing all students with a quality education, including viable alternatives, still challenges government.

“While it’s important to commemorate Brown v. Board of Education as the beginning of the end of legal segregation, it must also be recognized that public education still sometimes denies true opportunity when government cannot live up to its mission. There’s still a long way to go, particularly in giving minority children in large cities an escape from low-performing, government-run schools,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon , a former senior counsel with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. “Instituting voucher programs and encouraging charter schools is a positive step toward giving parents alternatives to failing public schools. While there are leaders such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty willing to champion such reforms, it’s a shame many of the same people lauding the Brown anniversary are also among those seeking to stop such reforms from proceeding.”

A consolidation of five different cases involving racially-segregated public schools, the Brown v. Board of Education decision was handed down by the Supreme Court on May 17, 1954. The ruling, a unanimous decision, declared that segregated schools are “inherently unequal” and that there is no place for the Jim Crow era doctrine of “separate but equal” in government-run school systems. The Court at the time of the ruling left it up to state attorneys general to submit individual desegregation plans, but declared in 1955 that efforts to fully desegregate public schools needed to commence with “all deliberate speed.”

In its ruling on Brown, the Supreme Court found the policy of segregated education violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In doing so, the Court overturned its 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson that had upheld Jim Crow laws.

“Brown v. Board of Education should be celebrated as a high point in American history. What should be lamented is the current state of the nation’s public school system, said Project 21’s Derryck Green, a doctoral candidate in ministry. “De facto segregation has returned on the basis of class, which unfortunately, continues to disproportionately affect poor minorities — particularly black children. Teachers’ unions have demonstrated an unwillingness to allow poor and minority children access to quality education of their parents’ choosing through school vouchers. Teachers’ unions obstructing school choice is perfectly emblematic of segregationist former Alabama governor George Wallace, who defiantly stood in the schoolhouse door to block welcome progress.”

“As we mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, there is little to celebrate in the way of educational achievement in inner city schools across America. Dropout rates are too high and graduation rates too low. An appropriate and effective way to address the poor performance is through parental engagement and raising expectations,” said Project 21’s Stacy Washington , a St. Louis radio talk show host and former school board officer. “Many innovative educational formats have sprung up in response to academic malaise and are gaining in popularity as parents leave public education institutions and seek other options. The best way to celebrate and commemorate Brown is by supporting those parents and communities and encouraging more educational innovation.”

Over the past two years, Project 21 has been involved in the U.S. Supreme Court education cases of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

After the Court heard arguments in the Schuette case, Project 21 held a policy luncheon (video available here) that featured Jennifer Gratz, the executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative that was the basis for the Schuette case. Gratz, of course, also was the plaintiff in the 2003 race preference case of Gratz v. Bollinger.

In 2014, members Project 21 have already participated in over 600 media interviews and citations that include MSNBC, the Fox News Channel, TVOne, Sirius/XM satellite radio, The Root and Westwood One on a myriad of issues facing black Americans that includes education, racial preferences, the economy, voter ID, regulation and law enforcement.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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Black Leadership Network Condemns Race-Based Justice in Pennsylvania Bribery Case

Four State Lawmakers Caught in Government Bribery Sting; Accused of Taking Cash to Influence Actions on Government Contracts and Voter ID

State’s Attorney General Declines to Prosecute, Apparently Because Lawmakers are Black and Liberal

“It appears that Attorney General Kane picks and chooses the laws she will defend and the crimes she will prosecute based on a political litmus test,” says Project 21’s Episcopal Missionary Church Bishop Council Nedd II, a Pennsylvanian

Washington, DC – In the wake of a liberal walkout in the Pennsylvania state legislature and accusations that Pennsylvania’s attorney general is declining to prosecute four lawmakers allegedly caught in a government bribery sting operation because those lawmakers are black and liberal, members of the Project 21 black leadership network are calling on state officials to do their duty.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, has refused to prosecute four Democrat state lawmakers who allegedly took bribes in a three-year sting operation, calling the operation “racially tainted” because the lawmakers who allegedly took the bribes are black.

The lead law enforcement agent running the operation himself is black, and he denies blacks were targeted. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that both Republicans and Democrats were offered bribes for actions including voting against the state voter ID law, but none of the Republicans took the bribes.

“It appears that Attorney General Kane picks and chooses the laws she will defend and the crimes she will prosecute based on a political litmus test,” said Project 21’s Bishop Council Nedd II, the rector of St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania and presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church. “But when the House State Government Committee convened to examine the evidence, liberal lawmakers on that committee who obviously must support this sort of behavior got up en masse and left. This is childish. It is disrespectful to their constituents and to anyone who values the laws of our republic.”

On May 6, the House State Government Committee was scheduled to hear from witnesses about what Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R) thought could constitute “misbehavior in office” by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The hearing would consider if these examples might lead to impeachment charges against Kane.

Among the complaints against Kane is that she “openly defied her duty” by not upholding a state law passed in 1996 banning same-sex marriage and her “brazen unwillingness” to pursue a long-running and wide-ranging undercover operation in which public officials were accused of bribery. In the latter case, Kane quashed the probe, which recorded lawmakers participating in actions such as taking bribes for government contracts and to oppose the state’s voter ID law, for having what she considered a ‘disparate impact’ due to the fact that all of the accused lawmakers are black.

At the hearing, former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer J. Christian Adams testified that “[i]t is the obligation of the attorney general to ignore the race, religion and partisan affiliation of the wrongdoers in deciding whether to enforce the law.”

As the hearing began, however, liberal lawmakers on the committee immediately tried to adjourn it and tried to block the testimony of witnesses. These liberal lawmakers eventually walked out of the hearing altogether. The hearing resumed after the walkout.

“For all the hyperbolic rhetoric claiming that voter ID requirements disenfranchise minorities and the poor, it is particularly dismaying to see what the real story is after a criminal investigation of legislators takes place. It turns out at least one was willing to sell their position on voter ID to the highest bidder. That is tragic,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former constitutional law professor. “It makes matters worse when the accused pretend that their allegedly illegal actions were somehow the result of a racial witch-hunt. It’s even worse still when there’s an obviously political decision by the commonwealth’s Attorney General to dismiss the charges merely because the people willing to sell the rights of blacks and the poor are black themselves. Shouldn’t this behavior be considered even more outrageous?”

Bishop Nedd added: “This was an important hearing on an important topic, yet the liberals on the committee chose to turn it into a partisan spectacle. If they truly believe Attorney General Kane to be innocent of the accusations against her, it would have been more productive for them to participate and disprove the witnesses. Their walkout only makes the need for answers more pressing.”

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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Project 21 Condemns Vandalism of Ole Miss Statue of James Meredith

Son of Conservative Civil Rights Icon, a Member of Project 21, Issues Statement

FBI, Local Police Investigating Apparent Hate Crime

Washington, DC – Members of the Project 21 black leadership network condemn the apparent February 16 hate crime on the campus of the University of Mississippi in which a statue of civil rights icon and prominent black conservative James Meredith was vandalized. Meredith’s son, John, a founding member of Project 21, has issued a statement about the act and his appreciation for efforts to find the perpetrators.

“We join in the condemnation of those who have vandalized the iconic statue of James Meredith and commend the University of Mississippi for the quick action it has taken in response,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, February 16, a construction contractor working on the Ole Miss campus reported that he heard two men yelling out racial slurs. Afterward, the contractor said he found that the life-like bronze statue of James Meredith, the first black student at the school, had a rope noose around its neck and a pre-2003 Georgia state flag covering its face. That flag contains a version of the Confederate battle flag.

The statue of James Meredith was unveiled on campus in 2006 and has never before been vandalized. The Ole Miss Alumni Association is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of any perpetrators. The FBI is working with campus law enforcement as the act is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

James Meredith’s integration of Ole Miss in 1962, which began with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling authorizing his enrollment at the previously all-white school and ended with presidential intervention to quell deadly rioting, was a major turning point in the civil rights era.

In 1966, James Meredith organized the “March Against Fear” voter registration march from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. He was shot by a sniper during the march, but still finished the trek. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also participated in the march. Meredith later ran for elected office in New York and Mississippi as a Republican. He became a popular public speaker on conservative issues, and served as a domestic policy advisor to then-Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) between 1989 and 1991.

Now 80 years old and an advocate of early childhood education of basic societal tenets such as the Golden Rule, Ten Commandments and Lord’s Prayer, James Meredith said to the Los Angeles Times about the vandalism: “That just clearly shows that we’re not training our children like the Bible says. They don’t know right and wrong, good and bad and how to apply it to life.”

His son, John Meredith, a founding member of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network, said about the vandalism and the immediate response: “While this type of abhorrent vandalism is deplorable, I think the University of Mississippi is to be commended for its handling of the incident. The speed and determination it has moved with in pursuing justice for this act, coupled with the generous reward offered toward the apprehension of the perpetrators by the alumni association, shows the institution no longer tolerates hateful behavior on its campus or in its name.”

“James Meredith is an iconic civil rights leader. He is a living legend. He clearly and succinctly expressed the need for our society as a whole to address conservative values. While some may say that traditional values found in God’s word through the Bible are outdated or unnecessary, Meredith correctly points out — from his own experience — how ignoring those values leads to the hate that our society as a whole detests. He shows the need to promote, and not reject, these conservative values,” said Project 21’s Hughey Newsome. “As a story of retribution, it is also promising to see that the University of Mississippi has come full circle. The institution that once rejected Meredith based on his race is now working to protect his well-deserved honor.”

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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Project 21 Has Harsh Response to President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Addresss

Washington, DC – Calling it steeped in class warfare and contempt for the Constitution, commentators with the Project 21 black leadership network are highly critical of President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address.

“It’s interesting for President Obama to begin his State of the Union address with a list of supposed accomplishments, and then ask for a ‘year of action.’ He put forth a lot of ideas, yet offered no fixes to the problems that define his administration – an ever-expanding federal deficit, the stifling of jobs by the Affordable Care Act and the continued attempts to rob our military men and women of the benefits their service has earned,” said Project 21’s Coby Dillard , a former Tea Party organizer, Navy veteran and former guard at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “In threatening to govern through executive actions rather than putting his ideas into legislation to be approved by Congress, the President shows a disdain for the basic structure of governance that our Founders envisioned. It’s said that the true measure of a leader is his ability to build support for an agenda through consensus, and not to compel action unilaterally through his own initiative.”

Speaking before a joint session of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, military leaders, his cabinet, diplomats and other guests, President Obama made it clear that he is uninterested and unwilling to take the steps necessary to forge bipartisan plans through deliberation and compromise. Rather, Obama seems ready to use executive power to implement a controversial and legislatively unpopular agenda.

Prior to the address, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters: “The President sees this as a year of action to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary.” Obama, in the speech, said he would not “stand still” if Congress does not bend to his will, claiming “wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation… that’s what I’m gonna do.”

“Our nation would be best served if President Obama used his pen to sign bills from the Congress into laws. His phone calls should be to the members of Congress to negotiate commonsense, pragmatic legislation that is in the best interest of the American people,” said Project 21’s Charles Butler, a radio talk show host. “Instead, he has chosen a path of confrontation and intimidation with the people’s representatives. Despite being a former constitutional law professor, one must seriously ponder if Obama understands his lawful responsibilities as the head of the executive branch of the federal government.”

Obama made tonight’s taunts before lawmakers, justices and others at a time when his signature health care takeover is seen as underperforming and over budget, America’s stature in the world is hobbled though eavesdropping revelations and foreign policy missteps and controversial staffing moves through dubious “recess appointments” that bypassed Senate approval are now being checked by the U.S. Supreme Court to see if they pass constitutional muster. Obama also called for new regulations during his address that will likely have devastating effects on energy production and American manufacturing as he caters to the radical environmentalists’ global warming agenda.

“Whatever happened to ‘hope and change?” asked Project 21’s Joe Hicks , a former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Los Angeles City Human Rights Commission. “After all of the ginned-up rhetorical excesses of the 2008 presidential inauguration, President Obama has failed to measure up to any reasonable expectations of large-scale leadership, a sure sign that small-ball politics now define his lame-duck status. He conveyed a weak, incompetent, ineffectual, detached president — unlike anything the nation has seen since the days of Jimmy Carter. Obama appears satisfied arguing for things he can’t determine the outcome of — such as arguing for raising the national minimum wage, arguing for immigration reform and empty threats to threaten that he’ll use unilateral presidential authority to get what he wants. There is, after all, something called the Constitution. The question is, who cares what this president has to say? Given his dismal approval ratings, shockingly unpresidential behavior and abysmal performance, most Americans have simply turned off, tuned out and couldn’t care less about anything this president has to say.”

“The President’s speech was a mix of one-sided positive reviews of policies that were mostly harmful for the majority of Americans. It was government-focused solutions to problems the private sector can resolve on its own, and gimmicky programs that will only add to the morass of the federal government,” said Project 2’s Hughey Newsome , a private financial specialist and regular columnist for the Daily Caller website. “The one thing that came through strongest is the thinly-veiled threat to increase the minimum wage through fiat while failing to address why wages are falling in the first place. Overregulation — including the Affordable Care Act — the inability to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow and catering to special interests reduce the number of jobs available and takes away from the ability of the worker to have the skills to demand higher wages on his/her own.”

Oddly, the President, five years into his presidency and long past being able to blame his predecessor, complained that “average wages have barely budged” and “upward mobility has stalled” and “too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by.” He made no connection to the taxes and regulations that play a central role in implementing his agenda.

“Instead of pressing the accelerator on plans to expand government, the President could do taxpayers and the American economy a favor by reversing course,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law and former leadership staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Starting with tax relief, a one-year freeze on new regulation and sitting down with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to develop a real solution to the entitlement crisis the President could set a new course — one that focuses on the real problems that America faces with solutions that have been proven to work.”

Going into tonight’s speech, President Obama’s approval rating, as measured by Gallup, Inc., was 41 percent — with 52 percent of those polled disapproving of his job performance. A Washington Post/ABC-commissioned poll found that 55 percent of those asked disapproved of Obama’s handling of the economy.

Project 21’s Christopher Arps, also the founder of the black conservative social networking site Move-On-Up.org, said: “Tonight’s fifth State of the Union address by President Obama officially marks the beginning of lame duck status for his presidency. His long and liberal laundry list of unattainable initiatives, coupled with his 41 percent approval rating, will fortunately transform the commander-in-chief into the ‘spectator-in-chief’ for his final two years in office.”

Commenting on President Obama’s cheerleading his health care takeover, Project 21’s Dr. Elaina George , a board-certified and award-winning otolaryngologist, said: “The power to choose your doctor, and for you in partnership with your doctor to decide your course of treatment is the foundation of excellent medical care. With The Affordable Care Act, the government has inserted itself to become the final arbiter of your care and it will ultimately decide who the health winners and losers are. Proponents of ObamaCare want people to believe that the system is so broken that it can only be fixed through fundamental change. The disastrous roll-out has certainly fed the argument of single payer and there is an argument to be made that the government bailout written into the bill has actually already ushered in single payer — since whomever controls the money controls the access and makes the rules.”

“President Obama spoke on immigration reform, pre-K education spending, more ‘infrastructure’ spending and artificially driving up the minimum wage. The list of proposed items and all of the proposed executive actions are distractions from the failure of ObamaCare,” said Project 21’s Stacy Washington, a local school board officer and radio talk show host. “Instead, the President should have completely come clean on Benghazi, the IRS targeting scandal and assure Americans he plans to engage Republicans in the House on spending cuts to stimulate the economy and create jobs. He should apologize for millions of Americans losing their health care and offer to compromise on ObamaCare.”

According to last month’s jobless figures from the Obama Administration’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate is at a modern low of 62.8 percent (a low not seen since the Carter Administration). A record number of people are on food stamps and disability payments drawn from the Social Security Administration are at all-time highs.

“Five years into the President’s so-called recovery — a recovery that feels worse than the actual recession — it’s safe to say that his administration has shown a remarkable and indefensible indifference to the U.S. economy at the expense of millions of Americans. And he doesn’t seem bothered by it,” said Project 21’s Derryck Green , who writes a monthly analysis about the economy for Project 21 monthly when federal jobless estimates are announced. “With the unemployment rate dropping because over 92 million Americans are out of the workforce; a labor-force participation rate matching a 35-year low; 47 million Americans on food stamps and emergency unemployment benefits close to being extended, issues such as minimum wage and wealth redistribution — though characteristic of an unsound and unserious economic strategy — aren’t the solutions that are going to jumpstart a lagging economy. The President apparently prefers empty campaign-style rhetoric to serious, thoughtful and productive economic policies.”

“It was all too clear tonight that President Obama will continue on a narcissistic path. Obama throws out the populist rhetoric, but the truth of the matter is that the massive growth in government and government dependency, income inequality and millions losing their health care coverage is a direct results of his failed policies,” said Project 21’s Kevin Martin, a small businessman and Navy veteran. “Tonight’s State of the Union speech was nothing more than a rehash of tired rhetoric from the last five years. And there will be very little positive results even with the threat of unilateral executive action. Tragically, Obama refuses to alter the course that has seen his approval levels sink to the lowest of his presidency.”

Since 2010, black conservatives affiliated with Project 21 have provided an annual post-speech analysis of the President’s State of the Union address. In 2013, members of Project 21 participated in just under 1,000 interviews that included CNN, Fox News Channel, Reuters, the Westwood One Radio Network, Bloomberg News, WHO-Des Moines, KDKA-Pittsburgh and KOA-Denver as well as more than 700 op-ed commentary and media citations in publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News and World Report, BusinessWeek, the Daily Caller, the Baltimore Sun, American Spectator and Huffington Post.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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LBJ’s “War on Poverty” Hurt Black Americans

Five Decades After: Black Progress Hurt by Expansion in Government, Welfare

Black Activists Criticize Handout Mentality that Destroyed Traditional Families

Washington, DC – Fifty years ago today, before a joint session of Congress, President Lyndon Baines Johnson announced an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” Today, black activists with the Project 21 leadership network are critical of how that war has been waged. They note the expansion of government and a strategy focused on handouts that discourage self-improvement caused more harm than help to the poor.

“Five decades after President Johnson initiated the ‘war’ on poverty, America remains at around the same percentage of people still living in poverty as it did back then. In 1964, the poverty rate was approximately 19 percent. Today, it’s around 15 percent,” said Project 21 spokesman Derryck Green. “Statistics such as these demonstrate the War on Poverty was a continually-mismanaged disaster. That isn’t to say there haven’t been people helped by it. All things considered, however, it’s been a tragedy.”

Green added: “The disastrous effects of the government’s management of anti-poverty initiatives are recognizable across racial lines, but the destruction is particularly evident in the black community. It effectively subsidized the dissolution of the black family by rendering the black man’s role as a husband and a father irrelevant, invisible and — more specifically — disposable. The result has been several generations of blacks born into broken homes and broken communities experiencing social, moral and economic chaos. It fosters an inescapable dependency that primarily, and oftentimes solely, relies on government to sustain livelihoods.”

Federal programs directly resulting from the War on Poverty include Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps and enhanced Social Security benefits. At the time, President Johnson boasted, “[t]he richest nation on Earth can afford to win it.” In 1988, President Ronald Reagan noted in his 1988 State of the Union Address that “we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.” President George H.W. Bush, in his own 1992 State of the Union Address, pointed out: “Welfare was never meant to be a lifestyle; it was never meant to be a habit; it was never supposed to be passed on from generation to generation like a legacy.” Bush’s comment echoed a statement by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, long before the War on Poverty even began, warned government assistance could be like a “narcotic.”

Commenting on the potential debilitating effects of public assistance, Project 21 Co-Chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon said: “Although they were conceived with good intentions, the programs of the War on Poverty have ultimately had a negative impact on the lives of black Americans. Even Franklin Roosevelt warned that the welfare state ‘must not become a narcotic and a subtle destroyer of the spirit.'”

LeBon continued: “While some good things did come out of the 1960s, many of these programs — including Head Start — have become ineffective and, some argue, damaging over time. In fact, some of the major disasters plaguing minority communities — including drugs, higher incarceration rates and a rise in unwed mothers — couldn’t have just coincidentally began escalating at the same time. At this point, when we can reflect upon what has happened and what is needed, we should now support and expand policies encouraging small business expansion, improving educational opportunities, and strengthening faith and families.”

Project 21’s Jerome Hudson said: “Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty produced a reality that is horrifyingly different than the one he probably hoped for. Instead of providing a mere safety net for families in need, it effectively replaced the virtues of work and self-reliance with an avalanche of welfare programs nuturing the poor. These welfare programs foster defeatism, disincentivize two-parent homes and set ablaze an American underclass now seemingly trapped in a never-ending cycle of poverty.”

“Fifty years ago, America began the War on Poverty,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper. “Having spent trillions with little to show for it, it’s clearly time to declare a cease fire. After destroying generations of blacks and all but destroying the black family in total, it is time to try empowerment and personal responsibility.”

“The War on Poverty has arguably destroyed the black nuclear family,” said Project 21’s Christopher Arps. “Roughly 75 percent of black children were born to a married two-parent family when the ‘war’ began in 1964. By 2008, the percentage of black babies born out of wedlock numbered over 72 percent. Today, the rate of unwed motherhood in the black community is more than twice as high as among whites — and almost three times higher than before big government’s grand intervention. And all this comes at a steep financial cost. The federal government has spent an estimated $15 trillion dollars to end poverty. Government reportedly spent $20,610 on every poor individual and $61,830 per poor family in 2012.”

As the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty is observed, it appears the Obama Administration is effectively doubling down on some of the very concepts of which Project 21 members are critical, including raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits and food stamp enrollment as well as fostering class warfare by focusing on alleged income inequality.

“President Johnson’s War on Poverty, which was being formulated during the Kennedy Administration, is perhaps the only government institution that destroyed and devastated the black American upward mobility and family structure. As an assistant secretary of labor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned that the premise and concept of the War on Poverty would be detrimental to black America,” said Project 21’s Charles Butler. “The infamous split between the races that Moynihan predicted has created a deficit between white and black in key areas such as education, income and net worth. Yet we keep doing the same thing repeatedly hoping for a different result.”

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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Black Conservatives Speak Out on Beginning of ObamaCare Enrollment

Washington, DC – With Congress at an impasse and President Obama threatening to shut down the government rather than make concessions regarding his very unpopular federal takeover of private health care, black conservatives with the Project 21 black leadership network remain highly critical of ObamaCare and President Obama’s unwillingness to compromise.

“ObamaCare will invariably lead to a centralized, rigid health care system that will insert the government as the decision maker and destroy the traditional doctor-patient relationship. Cost control will become the driving force. There will be a transfer of wealth — not from rich to poor, but away from the middle class. They will become dependent on the government,” said Project 21’s Dr. Elaina George , an award-winning, board-certified practicing otolaryngologist. “People will find themselves in the unenviable position of not being able to afford medications, tests or procedures because they cannot afford to pay their portion. Even though no one can be turned away for preexisting conditions, they can still effectively be priced out of care because the premiums and the out-of-pocket expenses are too high.”

On October 1, except in places where implementation has already failed, such as Colorado and the District of Columbia, people can begin to comply with ObamaCare’s individual mandate. President Obama pushed back the mandate for employers past the 2014 federal elections by. Conservatives have suggested a similar postponement of the individual mandate, but President Obama is willing to shut down the government to prevent this.

“It’s laughable that ObamaCare proponents are now arguing that the fact that it is a law means that it is sacred and cannot be repealed. Really? I’m sure glad my ancestors and others fought and died to repeal bad laws so that I can live free today,” said Project 21’s Christopher Arps. “There’s at least one liberal senator willing to say that ObamaCare is a looming disaster, so there’s likely others who have been waiting for someone to go first. For instance, a huge divide exists between organized labor and the White House right now. How can principled liberal senators — especially those who are also in more conservative states — sit idly by while ObamaCare destroys the 40-hour workweek?”

A recent USA Today/Pew poll found that 53 percent of those Americans surveyed disapproved of ObamaCare. A similar 53 percent also said they disapproved of the way the Obama Administration is handling health care policy.

“Promise after promise was made by President Obama and this administration in order to get the monstrosity that is ObamaCare passed. Now that it is the law, we see that Nancy Pelosi was absolutely correct when she said we’d really get to see what was in the bill once we passed it,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper , a former leadership staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives. “This law will lower the quality of care for many Americans who already have health insurance, and it will lead to significant increases in the cost of the care they get in the future. It is likely to continue exacerbating the elevated unemployment among 18 – 30 year olds and place a further drag on the economy. Government-run health care has always been a bad idea. The execrable version that progressives imposed on America in 2010 is beyond awful.”

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

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Black Conservatives Unimpressed, Unchanged by Obama’s Muddled Syria Speech

Peacenik President and Staff Out of Depth in Test of Strategic Prowess, Project 21 Members Say

Washington, DC – With President Barack Obama trying to make the case tonight for fulfilling his red-line demands on the Syrian regime of Bashir al-Assad, members of the Project 21 black leadership network remain unconvinced that the Nobel Peace Prize-winner possesses the authority and the justification to properly handle this foreign policy nightmare of his own making.

“President Obama’s speech this evening lacked a logical reasoning for what to do about Syria even though he has declared it a national priority,” said Project 21’s Kevin Martin , a Navy veteran. “Obama sold himself in 2008 as the candidate of peace. As president — due to an obviously total lack of understanding, absence of leadership and confusion about the Syrian civil war and world politics — he justified launching a military strike that will only likely strengthen the hand of our enemies and paint us into a corner. Simultaneously, he is clutching a half-baked plan proffered by people we shouldn’t trust. Polls show Americans are overwhelmingly weary of war and see no good coming from fortifying forces whom may follow the same radical terrorists who raided our consulate and killed Americans in Libya a year ago.”

As Obama prepared to make this address to the nation, major polls showed overwhelming opposition among the American people to military action against Syria, with even larger numbers of people unsure of what Obama hoped to achieve through such action. And with the possibility of the deal brokered by Russia, similar numbers of Americans polled by CNN say they don’t know if they can trust the Russians.

“While President Obama laid out a coherent argument for military action for the very first time since the Sarin attacks occurred, one very obvious point was never made: That an opportunity for a peaceful solution negates the need for America to get involved at all,” said Project 21’s Stacy Washington, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. “A true leader would do everything within his power to broker that peaceful agreement. It’s not lost on me that he tried to play to the hawks in the Republican Party, which will not work. Maintaining a strong military to protect the United States has nothing whatsoever to do with this particular request. Americans will not change their minds based on this plea from President Obama.”

Obama abruptly changed tonight’s speech from more than making the case for military action against the Syrian government to asking Congress to hold off on a resolution he once demanded to justify such action. For the short-term, he is holding out hope for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal that Syria surrender all of its chemical weapons to international authorities (a suggestion American Secretary of State John Kerry previously mentioned and then immediately dismissed as unworkable). Syrian officials are also now suggesting they will sign the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention. Putin has also said that the deal would require Obama to swear off any military action – something that Obama refused to do during his address.

“In Syria, we have a clear, unquestionable attack by a dying administration desperate to hold to a power no longer holding consent of its governed. It is unfortunate that President Obama, after repeatedly-and correctly-stating his authority to employ the American military against a clear threat, now seems to remind the nation of his self-appointed status as an anti-war president instead of taking the necessary actions of punishing those guilty of the most terrible of war crimes,” said Project 21’s Coby Dillard , a Navy veteran. “President Obama’s actions – or lack thereof – highlight the failure of modern liberalism; an ideology that believes that evil can, with the help of the international community, be asked out of existence. Trusting the Syrian leadership is no more a fool’s errand than trusting Saddam Hussein was during his repeated violations of U.N. resolutions and sanctions. In the prosecution of those who would use weapons of mass destruction, the United States is the only nation that is able to ensure these weapons are not used as first strike options or in the hands of the world’s most ruthless leaders. President Obama’s failure to act not only lessens our credibility, but dishonorable those who serve under his command.”

“Americans are not against U.S. involvement because they are minimizing the atrocities in Syria, but because they aren’t convinced of the nobility of the rebels or the virtue of their intentions,” said Project 21’s Derryck Green “Many Americans lack faith and trust in the moral decision-making of President Obama. They still have questions regarding the Libyan debacle of just a year ago. Americans still question why Obama didn’t support the ‘Green Revolution’ in Iran in 2009. They note how the President publicly called for the removal of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in a shortsighted and naive attempt to further an ‘Arab Spring’ which only empowered the Muslim Brotherhood. Trying to be on both sides, this speech will do very little to change American hearts and minds, the politics of acting or not acting or the perception of Obama as a credible leader on the world stage. And it will not deter Bashar al-Assad from continuing his slaughter.”

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