Increased Civil Rights Enforcement: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 19, 1998, Vice President Gore announced the Administration's proposal for the largest single increase in funding to enforce existing civil rights laws in nearly two decades. Through new reforms and heightened commitment to enforcement, the Administration will seek to prevent discrimination before it occurs and to punish those who do discriminate in employment, education, housing and health care, and against those with disabilities. The Clinton Administration's FY 1999 budget contains $602 million for civil rights enforcement agencies and offices -- an increase of $86 million over last year's funding.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The cornerstone of the improved civil rights enforcement effort is a $37 million increase (15 percent) for the EEOC. Through increased use of mediation, improved information technology and an expanded investigative staff, the EEOC will reduce the average time for resolving private-sector complaints from over 9.4 months to 6 months and cut the backlog of cases from 64,000 to 28,000, by the year 2000.
Housing & Urban Development (HUD) -- Fair Housing: To respond to the increase in reported cases of serious fair housing violations, HUD will double the number of its civil rights enforcement actions by the year 2000. HUD also has committed $15 million to 67 fair housing centers around the country to assist in fighting housing discrimination this year. In addition, the President's budget proposes $10 million for a targeted enforcement initiative that will use paired testing -- identical applicants of different races or genders approaching Realtors or landlords -- to detect and eliminate housing discrimination.
Coordination of Civil Rights: An additional $1 million will allow the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to enhance coordination of federal civil rights enforcement policy among agencies. Improved coordination will lead to more consistent enforcement of civil rights laws, broader dissemination of best practices and improved data collection.
Department of Labor: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP): Funding for OFCCP will increase 10 percent, from $62 million to $68 million, to implement a compliance assistance initiative and continue its Fair Enforcement initiative. The compliance assistance initiative will provide needed guidance targeted at helping Federal contractors understand the regulatory requirements and will address systemic discrimination in the workplace by encouraging Federal contractors to use proactive methods to identify problems. The Fair Enforcement initiative will increase the number of Federal contractor compliance reviews conducted and seek to reduce contractor burden through regulatory and technological changes.
Compensation to Minority Farmers: The Administration is committed to righting any past wrongs by federal employees and has requested language in the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would waive the two-year statute of limitations on discrimination complaints against USDA's farm and housing loan programs. This waiver would allow compensation to be provided to many minority farmers who were victims of discrimination by USDA from the early 1980's through the 1990's.
Hispanic Education Action Plan. Nearly one in three Hispanics between 25 and 29 years old left school without a diploma or GED. To correct this situation, President Clinton announced a $600 million increase in the FY 99 budget to help Latino youngsters master the basics of reading and math. The funding will also pay for programs to help them learn English, stay in school, prepare for college and, ultimately, succeed in college.
Reducing Class Size In Early Grades. The President proposed a $12.4 billion, seven-year initiative to help local schools reduce class size in grades 1-3 from a national average of 22 to 18 students. Through this program, local schools will be able to hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers. Funding also will be provided to states for teacher training and to require new teachers to pass state competency tests.
Education Opportunity Zones. The President proposed $1.5 billion, over five years, to bolster reform efforts in high-poverty urban and rural school districts that demonstrate a commitment to and a track record in improving educational achievement. Funds will be used to improve accountability, turn around failing schools, recognize outstanding teachers, deal with ineffective ones and expand public school choice. Added investments in these communities will accelerate progress and provide successful models of system-wide, standards-based reform.
Getting Good Teachers to Underserved Areas. Responding to the need for a diverse and excellent teaching force, President Clinton proposed a $350 million program to attract talented people of all backgrounds to teach at low- income schools across the nation. The funding also will be used to dramatically improve the quality of training given to future teachers. This new program will help bring nearly 35,000 new teachers into high-poverty schools in urban and rural areas over the next five years. In addition, it will upgrade the quality of teacher preparation at institutions of higher education that work in partnership with inner-city and poor rural area schools.
High Hopes for America's Youth. The High Hopes initiative would provide $140 million in FY 1999 to encourage degree-granting colleges to establish partnerships with middle and junior high schools with large numbers of low-income children. Working with parents, community members, religious groups, and businesses, these partnerships provide information about what it means and takes to go to college as well as about available support services -- such as mentoring, tutoring, college visits, summer programs, after-school activities, and counseling -- to help young people stay in school, study hard and go on to college.
School Construction and Modernization. To address the crucial issue of school construction, the President proposed federal tax credits to pay interest on nearly $22 billion in bonds to build and renovate public schools -- largely in the 100 - 120 school districts with the greatest number of low-income children. This more than doubles the assistance proposed last year. In addition, the President's FY 1999 budget proposes a 59 percent increase in funding for construction, facilities improvement, and repair of Native American schools.
Increasing Capital to Minority Businesses. Vice President Gore announced an unprecedented agreement between SBA and the "Big Three" U.S. automakers to increase subcontracting awards to minority businesses by nearly $3 billion over the next three years -- a 50 percent increase over current levels.
Tapping the Potential of America's Urban and Rural Communities. The President's FY 99 budget includes $400 million -- nearly triple the FY 98 appropriation -- for a new Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) that is expected to leverage an estimated $2 billion in private-sector loans to help communities invest in businesses and create jobs.
Supporting Minority Business Communities. Vice President Gore unveiled aggressive plans to increase lending and business services to the African-American and Hispanic business community, nationwide. The SBA has set a goal of providing an estimated total of $1.86 billion in loans to African-American small businesses over a three- year period and $2.5 billion worth of loans to Hispanic-owned businesses by the year 2000.
Empowerment Zones (Round II). The President's FY 99 budget provides $150 million a year for 10 years to fund 15 new urban Empowerment Zones (EZS) and $20 million a year for 10 years to fund five new rural EZS. The funds will be used for economic and social development activities in distressed communities.
Access to Jobs. The Access to Jobs initiative, proposed by President Clinton, will provide resources to assist states and communities that develop solutions -- such as vanpools and late-night and weekend service -- to help low income individuals with job-related transportation needs. Access to Jobs will leverage other transportation resources by requiring a dollar-for-dollar match. The transportation bill passed by Congress provides up to $150 million a year for this initiative.
Welfare-to-Work. Because of the President's leadership, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act included the $3 billion requested by the President for his welfare-to-work fund. In each of FYs 1998 and 1999, $1.5 billion will be provided to States and localities to help hard-to-employ, long-term welfare recipients and certain noncustodial parents obtain lasting, unsubsidized jobs. The majority of funds are targeted to concentrated areas of poverty.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). The Administration has requested a $45 million increase in CDFI funding (from $80 million to $125 million) to allow the Fund to provide additional financial assistance and expand its training and technical assistance initiative.
Opportunity Areas for Out of School Youth. The job training reform bill the President signed in August -- Workforce Investment Act -- authorizes $1.25 billion over five years in Youth Opportunity Grants to direct resources to high-poverty areas, including Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities, to provide comprehensive services designed to increase employment and school completion rates for disadvantaged youth. The basic concept of the initiative is to provide employment and training services to all disadvantaged youth in selected high-poverty areas for an extended period to change the culture of joblessness and high unemployment. The President's FY 1999 budget requested $250 million to fund the second year of Federal-to-local competitive grants to 15-20 high poverty/unemployment areas.
Expanded Youthbuild. This program provides high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 with academic and job-skills training, as well as apprenticeships building and rehabilitating affordable housing. The President's FY 99 budget requests $45 million for Youthbuild.
Improving Economic Self-Sufficiency in Native American Communities. On August 6, 1998, the President attended a conference, sponsored by the White House and fifteen federal agencies, entitled Building Economic Self-Determination in Indian Communities. At the conference, the President announced several initiatives aimed at promoting technology-based economic development in Indian country, increasing educational opportunities for Native American students, and providing improved health care to Native American children.
Summer Jobs. Serving economically disadvantaged youth age 14-21, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) provides work experience, enhances basic educational skills, and encourages school completion. This program is critical to youth, particularly to African-American teens whose unemployment rate is six times the overall rate. DOL estimates that SYEP provided about 20% of all jobs held by 16 and 17-year-old African- Americans in Summer 1996. The President's FY 1999 budget requested $871 million for the program to finance 530,000 minimum wage jobs in the Summer of 1999.
Expand Low Income Housing Tax Credit by 40 Percent. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) annually allocates to each state low-income housing tax credits equal to $1.25 per resident. This limit has not been adjusted since the credit was created in 1986. As a result, the purchasing power of the credit has declined by 40 percent. To adjust for that, the President's FY 99 budget calls for increasing the limit by 40 percent to $1.75 per capita, at a cost of $1.6 billion over five years. This expansion of credit will help to develop as many as 180,000 additional affordable rental units over the next five years.
Play-by-the-Rules Homeownership Initiative. The FY 99 budget for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation includes $25 million for a new initiative that would make homeownership more accessible to families who have a good rental history but have difficulty purchasing a home. Under this initiative, 10,000 lower-income and minority families who are currently renting would be provided with homeownership counseling and training, assistance with down payments or closing costs, or second mortgage loans for debt reduction.
Homeownership Zones. The President's FY 99 budget includes $25 million for Homeownership Zones, abandoned housing and distressed neighborhoods that communities could use the funding to reclaim. Funds could be used for property acquisition, demolition, site preparation, housing construction or rehabilitation, homeownership counseling, relocation, and activities to further fair housing and homeownership.
Welfare-to-Work Housing Vouchers. The President's FY 99 budget includes $283 million for 50,000 new vouchers exclusively for people who need housing assistance to make the transition from welfare to work. Local agencies would have flexibility to design and operate the welfare-to-work voucher program within broad national guidelines, encouraging maximum local creativity and innovation. Families could use the housing vouchers to move closer to a new job or secure more stable housing.
Regional Opportunity Counseling. Under this program, public housing authorities partner with nonprofit organizations to provide counseling to Section 8 certificate and voucher holders to ensure that they are aware of the full range of housing options. This program recruits landlords to accept Section 8 families. HUD allocated $36.7 million for 16 regional opportunity counseling sites in FY 96. Last year, the President unsuccessfully requested an additional $20 million to expand the program to new sites. The Administration has again requested a $20 million increase in funding for FY 99.
Incentive to Reduce Concentrations of Housing Certificate and Voucher Families. The President's FY 99 budget provides HUD the option to offer bonuses to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) for increasing the number of Section 8 voucher and certificate holders who move to less-distressed areas. These bonuses would encourage PHAs to identify more housing options for voucher and certificate holders.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Grants to Underserved Areas. The President announced a COPS program to increase police presence and community policing in neighborhoods where the need is greatest. Under this initiative, 18 cities will share $106 million to hire 620 new community policing officers. The pilot cities were selected following an analysis of crime, demographic and economic data. The 18 cities chosen face some of the highest per population levels of crime and/or economic distress in the United States.
Community Prosecutors: The President's FY 99 budget includes $50 million for grants to promote community prosecution, which builds on effective community policing strategies. The funds will enable local prosecutors across the country to play a more active role in crime fighting by spending more time in their neighborhoods, both helping to solve crimes and preventing them before they happen.
Fighting Hate Crimes. On November 10, 1997, the President and Attorney General Janet Reno hosted the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes, which featured experts and law enforcement officers from around the country. The President announced significant law enforcement and prevention initiatives to get tough on hate crimes, including: support for legislation to expand the federal hate crimes law to cover crimes based on sexual orientation, gender, or disability; the creation of a network of local hate crime working groups; the addition of approximately 50 FBI agents and federal prosecutors to enforce hate crimes laws; improved collection of data on hate crimes; and the production of materials to educate the public -- especially youth -- about hate crimes.
Indian Country Law Enforcement. The President's FY 99 budget proposes a $182 million initiative, led by the Justice and Interior departments, to address the public safety crisis in Indian country. The initiative will strengthen Indian country law enforcement, primarily, by providing anti-crime grants to Indian jurisdictions, increasing the number of officers per capita and improving the quality of detention facilities.
Eliminating Ethnic Health Disparities. President Clinton announced a $400 million effort initiative over five years that sets a national goal of eliminating, by the year 2010, longstanding disparities in the health status of racial and ethnic minority groups in six key health areas: infant mortality; diabetes; cancer screening and management; heart disease; AIDS; and immunizations. Currently, for example, African Americans suffer from diabetes at 70 percent higher rates than white Americans, while Native Americans suffer from diabetes at nearly three times the average rate. Vietnamese women suffer from cervical cancer at nearly five times the rate of white women, and Latinos have two to three times the rate of stomach cancer as white Americans. The President announced a five- step plan -- led by Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. David Satcher -- to mobilize the resources and expertise of the Federal government, the private sector, and local communities.
Children's Health Outreach. Minority children make up a disproportionate number of the over 10 million uninsured children. African-American children make up 25 percent and Hispanic children make up 30 percent of all uninsured children -- more than twice their percentage of the overall population. The President's budget proposes options for states to access higher Federal matching funds for outreach activities and to temporarily enroll children at sites like schools.
Child Care and Development Block Grant. The President's budget provides $7.5 billion in block grants to help working families afford safe, high-quality child care. These new funds, combined with the funds provided in welfare reform, double the number of children in low-income families receiving child care subsidies to two million by the year 2002.
After-School Programs. The President has proposed expanding the 21st Century Learning Fund by $800 million over five years. These start-up funds would generate additional school-community partnerships to establish before- and after-schools programs, allowing 4,000 schools across the country to implement programs for up to 500,000 children each year.
Early Learning Fund. The President's FY 99 budget would establish a five-year, $3 billion fund for community grants to promote early childhood development and improve child care quality for young children.
Presidential Dialogues. On July 9, 1998, the President joined Jim Lehrer for a nationally televised conversation on race on PBS. This round-table style conversation included four regular contributors to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and four other Americans in a stimulating discussion on issues of race. On April 14, 1998, the President held his second national conversation on Race in Houston, Texas. The town hall session, focusing on race and sports, was broadcast by ESPN. President Clinton's first national dialogue on race relations took place on December 3, 1997 in Akron, Ohio, and was broadcast nationally by C-Span. Advisory Board members, Cabinet members and senior Administration officials hosted more than ninety watch parties, which were organized around the nation to observe the Akron Town Meeting. On Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) sponsored a mini-Town-Hall for the D.C. area.
Advisory Board. The Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race was actively involved in public outreach efforts to engage Americans across the nation in this historic effort. The Advisory Board held eight public meetings in five states and the District of Columbia. The meetings covered topics ranging from education and housing to employment and the administration of justice. Board members also attended meetings held by federal agencies on topics including health and immigration. Board members individually participated in a total of approximately 300 meetings with a wide cross-section of communities and constituencies.
Studying Race. In May 1998, the President's Initiative on Race announced that the National Research Council (NRC), the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, will coordinate studies by prominent researchers on a range of topics related to race, including demographic trends. The work will include findings on whites, blacks, American Indians, Hispanics and Asian Pacific Americans. The project will culminate with a major research conference in October in Washington D.C.
American Indians/Alaska Natives. American Indians and Alaska Natives have been integrated into the work of the Initiative as panelists at Advisory Board meetings and in special Tribal leaders meetings hosted by the Initiative. Advisory Board members and Initiative staff have participated in regional and national conferences hosted by American Indians and Alaska Natives to hear directly from Indian country. In addition, the Administration successfully fought back proposed legislation that would have ended sovereign immunity for tribes and, in May, the President issued an executive order strengthening government-to-government relationships between the tribes and the US.
Presidential Meeting With Conservative Writers and Academics. When President Clinton launched his Race Initiative, he called for a national dialogue that includes views from a wide array of people. On December 19, 1998, President Clinton brought together a group of conservatives -- including Ward Connerly, Abigail and Stephen Thernstrom, Linda Chavez and Elaine Chao -- to continue the dialogue and listen to their opinions on race relations in America.
Sparking Dialogue. The Race Initiative has prompted innumerable conversations about race around the country, highlighted by an April "Month of Dialogue." During April 1998, 600 colleges and universities were engaged in a campus week of dialogue, organizing hundreds of race-related events across the nation. On April 30, 41 governors, 22 mayors and more than 100 local YWCAs engaged in dialogues on race during a statewide day of dialogue.
Conversations That Bring Us Together. As part of the Initiative, the Administration launched a program that enlists Administration appointees, Advisory Board members, Cabinet members and Race Initiative staff to host conversations in cities throughout the nation. Thousands have taken part in these One America Conversations in cities across the country.
Super Bowl XXXII PSA. In a unique partnership, the White House and the National Football League teamed up to create a public service announcement for President Clinton's Initiative on Race. The PSA aired before an estimated audience of 140 million people prior to the 1998 Superbowl kick-off. The spot highlighted examples of players from different racial and ethnic backgrounds coming together for a common goal. President Clinton reminded all Americans that we are on the same team and that, through working together, we can build one America.
Informing The Nation. For the first time in history, the President's Economic Report to Congress included an entire chapter devoted to reviewing trends in racial and ethnic economic inequality.
Highlighting Promising Practices. One of the critical elements of the Race Initiative is identifying and highlighting local and national efforts to promote racial reconciliation. The Race Initiative is compiling an extensive listing of promising practices, which are working to bring people together as one America. Over 300 such promising practices have been identified.
Making Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday A Day On Instead of A Day Off. In 1994, President Clinton signed into law the King Holiday and Service Act making the national holiday a day of service that would bring people together, promote racial cooperation and help to solve problems through citizen action. This year the Corporation for National Service provided $225,000 in grants to 73 sites across the nation to help spur service projects on MLK Day. On January 19, 1998, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, President Clinton helped paint classrooms at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C. Vice President Gore addressed the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The First Lady read to children in Washington, D.C. Also, 12 Cabinet Secretaries, agency administrators, members of the Race Initiative's Advisory Board, and other White House and Administration staff joined in celebrating Dr. King's birthday by participating in community service events.
First Lady Highlights Boston Team Harmony Promising Practice. To highlight successful community efforts, Mrs. Clinton joined forces with the Boston-based Team Harmony Foundation to talk with high school students in Boston and Washington, D.C., about ways to prevent prejudice. More than 8000 Boston youth participated in Mrs. Clinton's visit, and over 2,000 young people attended the Washington, D.C. event. As a result of the First Lady's events, Team Harmony has had requests to expand its program to New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Calling On Wall Street To Invest In Untapped Potential Of Our Diversity. On January 15, 1998, President Clinton joined Reverend Jesse L. Jackson for the Wall Street Project conference at the World Trade Center in New York City. The President told business executives that Wall Street must draw on the talent and diversity of all our people in communities long bypassed by capital but full of potential. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. also participated in the event.
Mobilizing Business Leaders. On April 2, 1998, Vice President Gore announced a series of business roundtable discussions, during an appearance on Black Entertainment Television(BET). This series will be chaired by the Vice President and will consist of four meetings with business leaders to discuss issues involving minorities and the business world.
Holding Corporate Forums Across the Country. Hundreds of corporate leaders have participated in corporate forums organized by the Initiative, in conjunction with members of the President's Cabinet. These forums have taken place across the country, in Miami, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles, California and St. Louis, Missouri.
Partnering With Universities. The American Council on Education (ACE) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) have teamed up with the Race Initiative to encourage colleges and universities to conduct special programs focusing on race and diversity in American society. The combined membership of ACE and AACU includes approximately 2000 colleges and universities, more than half of the accredited, degree-granting institutions in America.
Reaching Out To Religious Leaders. The Advisory Board has joined with the religious community to organize the national faith community, which has so often been at the forefront of this issue. The Initiative has sponsored forums in New Orleans, Louisiana and Louisville, Kentucky, for hundreds of religious leaders.
Outreach to the American Indians. In meetings in Washington, D.C., and around the country, Tribal leaders have offered their advice and recommendations about the unique challenges American Indians face in building one America. The Initiative is identifying Tribal leaders who are working in their own communities to respond to these challenges.
Public Service Announcement Released. On December 2, 1997, the President's Initiative on Race released a public service announcement developed in conjunction with the Leadership Conference on Education Fund and the Ad Council. The PSA challenges youth to become more active in fighting racism and prejudice, and encourages them to tell President Clinton what they are doing to improve race relations in America. This PSA was the recipient of the 1998 Tele Award, the advertising industry's honor for the best public service announcement.
Call To Action To Young Leaders. On November 28, 1997, the President sent a letter to 25,000 high school senior class presidents, college and university class presidents, and other young leaders from national and local organizations. In the letter, President Clinton issued a call to action by requesting young people commit to participate in at least one project aimed at moving our country closer together. Hundreds of youth leaders from across the country have responded to the President's call. Many of these youth activities are being highlighted as promising practices on the One America Website.
Vice President Briefing With Youth Media. On December 1, 1997, the Vice President hosted a briefing at the White House for youth-oriented and specialty media, such as Vibe Magazine, MTV and Univision. At the briefing, the Vice President spoke about the Race Initiative's emphasis on youth, and he called on the media representatives to find ways to use their creative energies to reach young people on the subject of race.
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