It is hot as hell in DC. It is even hotter under the collars of some African American women who are asking: Are we not civil rights leaders?
The women were set off by the news that President Obama was scheduled to meet with the leaders of two civil rights organizations – National Urban League President Marc Morial and NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. A readout of the meeting said "the President discussed the continued efforts his administration is making to spur job creation and economic growth."
The readout noted:
The President also reiterated that reducing unemployment, which disproportionately burdens the African-American community at 16.2%, remains a top priority for him and his Administration. The President also spoke with the two civil rights leaders about dramatic efforts his Administration has already made to address urban economic development through initiatives such as Strong Cities, Strong Communities, a program that acts to spur economic growth in urban centers while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently; the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions fund; and the Minority Business Development Agency at the Department of Commerce.
This is the second time in two years that Obama has held a meeting with civil rights leaders and no black woman had a seat at the table.
In February 2010, the late Dr. Dorothy I. Height was the only black woman invited to the Urban Economy Summit. The then-97-year-old could not attend because of the extreme snow conditions.
There was extreme heat yesterday, but black women leaders felt a cold chill when they realized history was repeating itself. While they're not ready to go on the record, they told me they won't be silent much longer. They have earned a seat at the table. More important, they want to ensure issues of importance to black women and black families are addressed.
And lest the knee-jerk “hater” is bandied about, these are women who year-after-year -- election-after-election -- make things happen. All they're asking for is a little respect.