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African American History Month Weekly Wrap-up

The Office of Public Engagment shares this week's events for Black History Month, which includes the Association of African American Life and History Panel Event and the Doing Business in Africa Forum.

This week, to celebrate African American history month, we held events for civil, community, LGBT and business leaders here at the White House. We had wonderful discussions, highlighting ways to increase equality and opportunity for all and celebrating African American history and opportunities to pave the way forward for the next generation of leaders. These are the groups that came into the White House as part of our week’s events for African American History Month.

Here’s a rundown on all the exciting events that have been happening this past week:

Tuesday: Association of African American Life and History Panel Event 

The Association of African American Life and History is a group of historians and academics who, among other duties, come up with the theme of African American History month every year. The theme this year, “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington,” commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The association came in for a panel, featuring Michael Strautmanis, Counselor to the Senior Advisor for Strategic Engagement, to hear about the Administration’s actions and priorities for the African American community.

Wednesday: Doing Business in Africa Forum

On Tuesday, we welcomed the business and entrepreneurship community to the Doing Business in Africa forum, which featured speakers from the Department of Commerce, the White House, and private and nonprofit sectors to highlight how the federal government can use trade promotion, financing and strategic communications and capabilities to help U.S. businesses identify and seize opportunities in Africa. The goal of the forum was to help give tools to overcome any challenges they face to establishing business relationships with Africa.

Thursday: African American Leaders Meeting with POTUS

African American Leaders Meeting with President Obama

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama met with African American leaders in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. They discussed his plan to strengthen the economy for the middle class and to build ladders of opportunity, through increasing access to job training programs, partnering with high-poverty communities to help them rebuild, and encouraging companies to invest in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Other topics included how to expanding universal pre-K education for every child as a way to significantly decrease the achievement gap, as well as improvements to the voting process. The leaders also highlighted their goals to continue to build momentum for Congress to act in the best interests of the American people by supporting policies that help move our country forward.

Thursday: Black LGBT Emerging Leaders Briefing

At the Black LGBT Emerging Leaders Briefing, 175 young leaders gathered to hear about policies and accomplishments that impact the African American and LGBT communities. We also connected participants with ongoing Obama Administration programs and outreach efforts and with black LGBT Administration officials who can serve as mentors and role models. And we heard from the participants about the opportunities and obstacles they encounter in their campuses, neighborhoods, and communities.