The Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission: Assessment of President Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address



The principal mission of the Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission is to continuously monitor and evaluate the policy priorities and legislative proposals of presidential administrations in relationship to the needs, issues, vital interests  and aspirations of people of African descent in the U.S. and globally.  Drawing from policy priorities of various constituencies, organizations and agencies within the Black community, the objective of the Commission is to assess how presidential administrations respond to or implement a Black Agenda.  The Commission asserts its prerogative to perform this function within the context of an American body politic where a wide range of interest groups mobilize, organize and lobby to advance their goals. This function is particularly important given the long history of the “color line,” prejudice, bigotry and structural/institutional racism, as a major impediment to  social, economic and political progress of Black people in the country. The Commission certainly acknowledges the significance of the election of the first African American President as a milestone in the history of the United States.  However, the virulent, negative reaction to President Obama by segments of our society is symptomatic of a racial subtext to some of the fierce policy debates raging in Washington.  In this regard, the “State of Emergency” afflicting millions of Black poor and working people, strongly indicates the urgent need for vigilance in monitoring how this and future administrations devise policies designed to  achieve justice and full equality for people of African descent in America.

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