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The Congressional Black Caucus ALC week climaxes with President Obama's Speech at Phoenix Awards | Arts & Culture

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The Congressional Black Caucus ALC week climaxes with President Obama's Speech at Phoenix Awards
The Congressional Black Caucus ALC week climaxes with President Obama's Speech at Phoenix Awards

WASHINGTON D.C. - More than 10,000 people from around the country converged on the Walter E. Washington Convention center for the 41st Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative conference (ALC), which began on Wednesday and included several receptions, panel sessions, and live entertainment.  ALC provides an outlet to highlight the mission of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation:  inform policy, educate the public, develop leaders and celebrate the accomplishments of those Black Americans who contribute to government, politics, philanthropy, the arts and entrepreneurship.  

One reception to highlight in particular, was the GREEN DMV's Unplugged "iGreen" reception in conjunction with the "iLead, iServe" CBC theme with Representative Cleaver which welcomed political leaders from around the country for an evening of business and social networking to bring awareness to environmental issues in low-income communities (see below photos).  GREEN DMV is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes clean energy and green jobs as a pathway out of poverty in low-income communities across America.  Green DMV was founded and self-funded by Philip O'Neal and Rhon Hayes, both which have been publicly recognized for their work in low-income communities through climate change solutions by the EPA's Lisa Jackson who was a recipient this year at the CBC's Phoenix Awards which was the finale of the CBC activities this past weekend.

The Phoenix Awards Gala recognized the hard work of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as citizens and politicians who have served the African-American community.   The highlight of the dinner was President Barack Obama‘s speech (see above video), which focused on jobs and eliminating unemployment as well as motivated Caucus members to pass the jobs bill.   Obama addressed the crowd and the caucus dinner on Saturday night and used the opportunity to highlight many of the accomplishments that have been made during his first term.  But more importantly, he reminded the caucus that there was more work to be done, specifically the passage of his bill, the  American Jobs Act, legislation which the CBC conceded throughout the conference will not pass.  "The unemployment rate for black folks went up to nearly 17 percent - the highest it’s been in almost three decades; 40 percent, almost, of African American children living in poverty; fewer than half convinced that they can achieve Dr. King’s dream. You’ve got to be a little crazy to have faith during such hard times. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s frustrating. And I ran for president, and the members of the CBC ran for Congress, to help more Americans reach that dream. It's time for us to take off the bedroom slippers, stop complaining and put on our marching boots and press on."

Along with a tribute to the founders of the Caucus, Lisa Jackson of the Environmental Protection Agency, George Foreman, Sr., Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and Rep. John Lewis each nabbed Phoenix Awards for their service in government, philanthropy, civil rights and politics.

Celebrity sightings included actress Gabrielle Union with NBA player Dwayne Wade, R&B singer Monica with husband Shannon Brown, actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., WJLA’s Cynne Simpson with Hill Harper, who also served as Master of Ceremonies along with Maureen Bunyan, Debra Lee who took her son as her date, Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, author Terry McMillan, publisher Donna Byrd and Roland Martin.