View Header
     Highlights Historic Progress for African Americans, Addresses
                            Challenges Ahead
                           September 20, 2000

Today, President Clinton will address the Church of God in Christ Bishops Conference, one of the largest and most influential African American religious denominations, with an estimated membership of eight million. At the conference, the President will highlight the progress made during the Clinton-Gore Administration in increasing opportunity and prosperity in the African American community. The President will also discuss the challenges that still face our nation -- including expanding civil rights enforcement to ensure equal opportunity for all, enacting hate crimes legislation and improving education for our children -- and call on Congress to continue the progress for African Americans and take action on these important priorities.

HIGHLIGHTING EIGHT YEARS OF PROGRESS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS. Over the last 8 years, the President and Vice President have worked to turn the nation around, bring it together, and ensure that all Americans share in the nation's prosperity. These accomplishments include:

BUILDING ONE AMERICA -- Appointing An Administration that Looks Like America. President Clinton has appointed the most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history, with twice as many African American appointees as any previous administration. African Americans make up 12% of the Clinton Cabinet, 14% of Administration appointees, and 17% of Federal bench nominations. The President has appointed more African Americans to federal judgeships (62 total) than were appointed during the last sixteen years combined (57 total).

INVESTING IN EDUCATION -- Progress for African American Students. Reading and Math test scores of African American students are up in virtually all categories. Three times as many African American students took AP exams in 1999 as did in 1988, and the percentage of African American high school graduates enrolling in college increased from 48% in 1992 to 59% in 1997 -- the highest number ever.

EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES. -- Historic Economic Gains. The unemployment rate and poverty rate for African Americans are both at the lowest levels on record, with an average unemployment rate of 7.7% in 2000 (down from 14.2% in 1992) and a poverty rate of 26.1% in 1998 (down from 33.1% in 1993). Median household income for African American families is up 15.1% (or $3,317) since 1993, and the poverty rate for African American children is at the lowest level on record.

IMPROVING OUR NATION'S HEALTH. -- Extended Health Care to Millions of Children with the State Children's Health Insurance Program. President Clinton, with bipartisan Congressional support, provided $24 billion to health care coverage to up to five million uninsured children. African American children make up 25% of all uninsured children -- more than twice their percentage of the overall population. This year, the budget includes several proposals to accelerate enrollment of children in SCHIP.

MAKING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER. -- Funding 50,000 More Community Police Officers. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration met its commitment to fund 100,000 police officers for our communities, with special grants to increase community policing in high-crime and underserved neighborhoods. In fall 1999, the President won funding for the first installment toward his goal to hire up to 50,000 more officers by 2005. This year, the Clinton-Gore budget includes over $1 billion to hire more officers and new community prosecutors, give police the tools and technology they need to fight crime, and fund community-wide crime fighting efforts.

ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES AHEAD. While we have made great progress in bringing the nation together and building a better future for all Americans, more remains to be done. The President will call on Congress to continue the progress of the last 8 years for African Americans by:

# # #