WASHINGTON - National pan-Hellenic leaders representing millions of college students and alumni today came together on a press call with civil rights leaders to highlight the devastating impact that proposed federal budget cuts would have on education, the economy, and the ability for future generations to achieve the American Dream. On the call, speakers underscored the importance of balancing the budget equitably without sacrificing vital programs for those families most in need.
Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, moderated the call and spoke about the need to address the economic challenges America is facing while continuing to prioritize the most important social programs. “Sadly, as our nation is in the midst of economic recovery, some politicians are putting a high price on human dignity. Our leaders are using today’s economic problems for political games by balancing the nation’s budget on the backs of those who suffer most. Giving tax breaks to the wealthiest but cutting vital programs that provide a safety net to the vulnerable asks more of those who have less and almost nothing of those who live comfortably.”
“Congress is seeking to eliminate the social and educational programs that have been key to this nation’s growth and development,” said Dwayne M. Murray Esq., Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi. “Pell grants have been the cornerstone of African American higher education but under the proposed cuts, almost 20 percent of students will see these benefits disappear completely and most all will have their support reduced. The U.S. cannot effectively compete with the rest of the world when we don’t prioritize education and support for the future leaders of our country.”
Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, President of Delta Sigma Theta, continued, “The recent budget cut proposal is nothing more than a cowardly, misguided attempt that will drastically cut the social safety net of Americans most in need. We agree that the budget deficit needs to be addressed but leaving hundreds of thousands of families in the cold is no equitable way to fix our economy. Placing the highest burden on students, elderly, homeless vets, families, and our children is no way to show leadership.”
Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League (NUL), spoke about the future of the economy. “What’s at stake is this – we have a growing group of diverse, young people in this nation and right now is when we need to ask ourselves the hard questions. Are the tools in place that we need to help the middle class of the 21st century? Significant cuts in domestic discretionary programs now will cause short term damages – job loss between 500,000 and 700,000 – and long term implications for the future of our nation.”
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, underscored the consequences of proposed cuts, “This is the most dangerous time for black children since slavery. At a time when the needs of the black community, poor people, and our nation’s children should be held in the highest regard, Congress insists on cutting the most important programs that provide these communities the opportunities they need to contribute to the economy. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said recently, ‘young people cannot compete in the global economy unless we prioritize education at home.’
Edelman concluded, “We cannot afford to let the American dream vanish by widening the gap between the richest and the poorest people in America”
Click here to listen to a recording of today’s call: HERE
Speaker Bios listed below:
Dwayne M. Murray Esq., Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi, and Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, President of Delta Sigma Theta, lead national pan-Hellenic service organizations active in creating a new generation of leaders and helping to educate elected officials on issues affecting education, healthcare, jobs and the economy, and the services and supports needed to build and maintain strong communities. Murray is chair and Butler-McIntyre is vice chair of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc.
Kappa Alpha Psi’s annual “Kappas on Capitol Hill” is being held the week of April 4th. Delta Sigma Theta held its annual legislative conference, “Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital,” in February.
Marc Morial is President and CEO of the National Urban League (NUL), which works to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. NUL just released its annual report, “The State of Black America,” which documents the deep impact that the recession is having on people of color.
Marian Wright Edelman is the founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for over 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children.
Wade Henderson is President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national civil and human rights organizations working to build and America as good as its ideals.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals.