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CUOMO PRAISES 100 BLACK MEN OF AMERICA, INC. FOR HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE AND FIGHTING RACISM, AS GROUP HONORS HIM WITH AWARD
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today praised members of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. for donating thousands of volunteer hours to help young people build better lives and for fighting to eliminate racism, and thanked the group for honoring him with its Excellence in Legislative Leadership Award.
"Winning an award from 100 Black Men of America is a special honor - not just for me or for HUD, but for the entire Clinton Administration," Cuomo told members of the group at their Fall Leadership Conference in Washington. "This award says we share your commitment to end discrimination and close the opportunity gap dividing white and black Americans, and we share your commitment to build a better future for every child."
President Clinton's One America Initiative and Clinton Administration programs to give minorities increased opportunities for better jobs, schools and housing all work for the same goals as 100 Black Men of America, Cuomo said.
1. "The simple, painful truth is that racism is alive and well in America in 1998," Cuomo said. "We must work together as partners to reduce discrimination against African Americans, and to make sure the black child born in a city has the same opportunities as the white child born in a suburb."
President Clinton's proposed 1999 federal budget seeks $22 million in increased funding for HUD to intensify the fight against housing discrimination, Cuomo said.
"We cannot tolerate housing discrimination that prevents minorities from living in any home and in any neighborhood they can afford," Cuomo said. "Our goal is simple justice, as well as bringing our diverse nation together as part of President Clinton's One America Initiative. "
In addition, programs targeted for expansion and improvement in the HUD budget that would have a positive impact on minorities include: 103,000 new rental housing vouchers for people needing affordable housing, including those moving from welfare to work; $400 million in grants for a Community Empowerment Fund to create and retain an estimated 280,000 jobs; funding for 15 additional urban Empowerment Zones to stimulate job creation and economic development in inner cities; expanded Community Development Block Grants to local communities; and increased funding for programs to train high school dropouts for jobs.
At President Clinton's direction, HUD is also working to reduce the homeownership gap dividing minorities and whites, Cuomo said.
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in the first quarter of this year the nation's homeownership rate rose to 65.9 percent. However, while 72.1 percent of white households owned their own homes, the African American homeownership rate was only 46 percent and the rate among Hispanics was just 44.4 percent.
Founded in 1963, 100 Black Men of America, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to 82 national and international chapters. More than 10,000 dedicated volunteer members have touched the lives of over 120,000 youth. Through programs that emphasize the national focus on mentoring, education, health and wellness, and economic development, youth are empowered to reach their fullest potential.
"You don't just talk about problems - you work to solve them," Cuomo told the group. "You are investing your time, your talents and your energy to help young African Americans overcome centuries of prejudice and claim their rightful share of the American Dream. America owes you its gratitude for all the hard work and all the success you have achieved. Quietly and without headlines, you are transforming lives in a profound and dramatic way that will change the course of our nation's history."
Content Archived: January 20, 2009