HOME Media Kit Advertising Contact Us About Us


Web The Truth

Community Calendar

Dear Ryan


Online Issues

Send a Letter to the Editor



Sen. Brown’s Remarks at National Urban League Conference


Last week, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) delivered the following speech at the National Urban League Conference’s Education Plenary in Columbus, Ohio.


Sen. Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:


To those of you not fortunate enough to be from Ohio, welcome to Columbus. I’m thrilled you’ve brought this conference to our great state.


Thank you to President Drake and Councilmember Hardin for being here and for being outstanding hosts this week, and for the great work they’re doing in our city.


The Urban League has a proud history and a strong presence in Columbus and throughout Ohio. Stephanie Hightower is doing great things here in Columbus, and my friend and neighbor, Marsha Mockabee, leads our Cleveland chapter.


All of your work is so important, particularly now.


It’s disheartening that in the United States of America, in the year 2018, there is still a need to defend the affirmation that black lives matter.


Too many young black children are being taught by society that they must put their hands up when they see police, instead of encouraged to raise their hands in the classroom.


When we say “black lives matter,” we acknowledge the fact that special attention must be paid to the disparities between black men and women and their white counterparts, and the racism that deepens these disparities – in everything from housing to health care; from access to credit to job opportunities to criminal justice, and so much more – including, of course, education.


And we’re committing ourselves to fighting those disparities.


Let me tell you story:


A few years ago I was at a MLK Day breakfast on a cold, snowy morning in Cleveland. One of the speakers said, “Your life expectancy is connected to your zip code.”


That’s something many of you know all too well in your work, but that we as a society don’t think enough about.


Whether you grew up in Hilliard or Hilltop, the east side of Cleveland or Appalachia – your zip code often determines whether you have access to health care, to quality housing, to broadband, and to all the social supports necessary to succeed.


And more than anything else, it determines whether you have access to quality education.


Education is a basic human right for every child.


For too long in this country, we haven’t lived up to that responsibility.


Ohio has been ground zero for the fight to invest in all schools, in all neighborhoods that serve all our students.


In Ohio, too many for-profit schools are denying students a quality education and stealing our tax dollars – tax dollars that should be going to educate Ohio kids in public schools and public charters that have record of success.


For-profit charters didn’t come out of nowhere – they’re a product of a decades-long campaign to undermine public education in this country.


Civil rights groups like the Urban League have fought for the right to a quality education for decades.


Generations of activists have waged battles in local school districts and state capitols and in Washington, because they all understood that public education is one of the greatest tools we have in this country to provide equal opportunity to every child.


But instead, we have a Secretary of Education waging an all-out assault on public education.


This administration’s budget took a hatchet to the Department of Education, including proposals to eliminate federal funding for before and after school programs and professional development for teachers.


And it’s not just funding cuts. It’s attacks on teachers, and plans to roll back school discipline guidance meant to protect students of color and students with disabilities.


It’s a higher education agenda that will make it harder for Americans who don’t come from privileged backgrounds to access the college education they need to succeed.


And children don’t go to school in a vacuum. Attempts to gut Medicaid and slash nutrition programs affect education. Kids can’t learn when they’re hungry, or when they’re sick and their parents can’t afford insurance.


That’s why your activism matters.


We can’t be discouraged.


I am horrified by what we see coming out of the Department of Education in Washington, but I’m encouraged when I look around Ohio.


Cincinnati is pioneering an innovative wraparound service model with its full-service community schools. And I’m introducing legislation soon to use these schools’ success as a national model and expand them around the state and the country.


Ohio’s flagship universities are training a new generation of teachers to educate students of all backgrounds.


I’m proud Ohio is home to two HBCUs – Wilberforce and Central State University. I’m member of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and fought to make sure Central State University and the other 18 1890 land grant universities got a $6 million increase in funding in the Senate appropriations bill we passed earlier this week.


Our office is partnering with OSU and communities around Ohio to expand President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper mentorship program and make Ohio a national leader.


We continue to build on President Obama’s legacy, despite this administration’s obsession with tearing it down.


We know the road ahead is long and winding when it comes to making sure there’s no ceiling on success for all Americans.


That is why your work is so important. Your voice, your stories, your activism, all make a difference.


Let me close with a story from my friend John Lewis.


John is a hero to so many of us, and he and I were both co-chairs of the Congressional delegation to Selma in 2015, to mark the 50th anniversary of the march for voting rights, across the Edmund Pettis bridge.


On the plane to Selma, he told me a story he had told the year before, when he gave the commencement address at Ole Miss.


John grew up on chicken farm in a little town called Troy, Alabama.


John said, as a child I saw those signs that said ‘white men,’ ‘colored men,’ ‘white women,’ ‘colored women,’ ‘white waiting,’ ‘colored waiting.’


I would come home and ask my mother, my father, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, ‘Why?’


They would say: ‘That’s the way it is. Don’t get in the way. Don’t ask questions. Don’t make trouble.’


Then in 1957, at the age of 17, I met Rosa Parks.


In 1958, at the age of 18, I met Martin Luther King Jr., and they said no, John. Ask questions, get in the way, make trouble.


That’s what all of you do – you challenge the status quo, you go up against powerful special interests, and you make good, necessary trouble. That’s how we change the country.





Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:12 -0700.

More Articles....

The 3 Basketball Presents; The Open Run II - Community Back To School Jump Off


Speakers Reach out to UT MESP Students


Toledo Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Supports Wayman Palmer YMCA Focus for Youth Development

Helping Hands of St. Louis Holds 5th Annual Shoe Fest


New STEAM Books to Inspire Learning and Creativity



Back to Home Page




Copyright © The Sojourner's Truth. All Rights Reserved.