“Ring out the old, ring in the new…Ring out the false, ring in the true.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I am not one to make impossible New Year’s resolutions. Gumbo and red beans and rice will be safe on my plate for another year. But at the beginning of every New Year, I do like to pause to affirm my highest intentions for the National Urban League movement and our nation.
The year just ended was one of the most difficult and divisive in American history.
Thirteen million Americans remain out of work. Unemployment has ticked down to 8.6 percent overall, but it is still disproportionately high in communities of color. As we begin the year, the unemployment rate is 15.5 percent for African Americans and 11.4 percent for Hispanics. Income inequality and poverty are on the rise. Confidence in government is at an all-time low. And the Presidential election of 2012 is shaping up as an epic battle between those who envision an America that works for the many and those who are content that it only works for the fortunate few. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do as a movement and as a nation. And so, with apologies to David Letterman and millions of other habitual list makers, here is my top-ten wish list for 2012:
10. Congress passes a full year payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits without 11th hour brinksmanship.
9. Washington finally ends partisan stalemate and enacts major legislation to create jobs, stop foreclosures and support business development.
8. Nation’s leaders resolve to never again engage America in a needless war like the one just ended in Iraq.
7. Supreme Court upholds health care law.
6. New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl (I had to sneak that one in for the folks back home).
5. Voter suppression efforts are stopped once and for all.
4. Crime in urban communities goes down…fair and equal justice for every citizen goes up.
3. African Americans and Hispanics vote in record numbers in the 2012 presidential election.
2. In our schools -- resource gap, achievement gap and graduation gap all eliminated.
And my number one wish for 2012 is for good health, greater prosperity and personal fulfillment for my family and yours. And that the National Urban League continues to grow so we can have an even greater impact on the movement for equality, justice and economic opportunity in America.
Happy New Year!
Marc Morial is the president and CEO of the National Urban League.