The Kerner Commission Report, 40 Years Later
Harvey Hollins III, vice president for the government and community affairs at Wayne State University, greets guests at the Detroit hearing held on November 17.(by Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)
The Eisenhower Foundation is hosting a re-examination of the issues raised by the Kerner Riot Commission, beginning with forums in Detroit and Newark, two cities affected by the civil unrest of 1967. Read what the media says about these two public forums.
The Detroit News - November 17
Detroit Free Press - November 18
Detroit Free Press - November 16
Lansing State Journal - November 17
Michigan Chronicle - November 15
Star Ledger - November 30
Star Ledger - December 2
Eisenhower Foundation gives early childhood education a boost.
(Baltimore, MD) The foundation used its communications department to share information with columnist Greg Kane of McClatchy Tribune regional news service and the Baltimore Sun about the awards being granted by Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer to two Maryland counties for their innovate preschool programs.
State school superintendent Nancy Grasmick says in the article “If I had my way, I’d do away with the senior year of high school and invest the money in early childhood education.”
While the Eisenhower Foundation doesn’t advocate doing away with senior year (nor does Grasmick really), we do support early childhood education. It is part of a critical continuum that is missing in many poor communities. We advocate multiple solutions to multiple problems funded to the scale of the problem: With a continuum of early education , after school for elementary students, quantum programs for high school students, quality prisoner reentry and training first not work first initiatives, community banking and community policing; entire communities can be stabilized and brought out of poverty. We salute the early child hood efforts of the two counties and Representative Hoyer for his support. Click here to read article
Eisenhower Foundation-The Sorbonne Forum Compares American, French and British Riots Over Poverty, Inequality and Race
Recent French Riots
(Paris) On June 6, 2007, the Sorbonne (the University of Paris) and the Eisenhower Foundation co-sponsored a one-day Forum in Paris on “Poverty, Inequality and Race: Forty Years After the Kerner Commission and Twenty-Five Years After the Scarman Report.”
The purpose of the Forum was to provide information that the Eisenhower Foundation could use in its upcoming fortieth anniversary update in 2008 of the final report of the 1968 Kerner Riot Commission in the U.S. (officially known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders). The Kerner Commission (named after its chair, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner) predicted growing inequality and racial segregation in the U.S. – a prophecy that has come to pass.
The June 6 Paris Forum on the anniversary of Europe D-Day, 1944, compared the causes and consequences of the uprisings in America’s impoverished inner cities during the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s to British riots in the 1980s amongst its urban poor, (which led to a British Commission chaired by Lord Scarman) to the recent French riots in predominantly poor, immigrant neighborhoods.
The presenters at the Sorbonne on June 6 included, in alphabetical order:
1. John Benyon, Professor, University of Leicester, Leicester (UK).
1. Sophie Body-Gendrot, Professor, the Sorbonne, Paris.
1. Alan Curtis, President, the Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, DC.
1. Jeffrey Fagan, Professor, School of Law, Columbia University, New York.
1. Romain Garbaye, CEUMA, the Sorbonne, Paris.
1. Fred R. Harris, Former United States Senator, Chairman, the Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, DC.
1. Anne Power, Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.
1. Vivien Stern, Member, House of Lords, London.
The Paris Forum follows the Eisenhower Foundation's National Forum on "Media, Poverty, Inequality and Race" (click here). The Foundation is preparing an update of the Kerner Commission which will be released on its 40th anniversary in 2008. The process will begin with comprehensive hearings in select American cities which experienced uprisings during and since the mid-1960s, revisiting many that were profiled in the original report. For more information contact Ms. Leila McDowell, Director of Communications at the Eisenhower Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading Journalists Discuss Policy Impact of Media Coverage on Poverty, Race and Inequality
(Washington, DC) On December 12, 2006 the Eisenhower Foundation held the National Media Forum on Poverty, Inequality and Race. Over two dozen leading journalists, media critics and scholars spoke on these issues throughtout the daylong forum.
To frame the Forum, the Eisenhower Foundation Forum had posed the question: why has the quantity and quality of print and electronic media coverage on poverty, inequality, race – and effective policy to deal with these issues – declined so precipitously since the late 1960s, in spite of recent reporting on Hurricane Katrina and failed federal policy on the Gulf Coast?
Click here to view videos of the presentations.
Click here for the Forum agenda and here for bios of the panelists.
Click here to order a copy of C-SPAN's coverage of the event.
The Truly Disadvantaged and the Inner City: A Return to Education, Training, and Placement
(Washington, DC) November 6, 2006 -The Eisenhower Foundation held a day-long forum on employment training for youth, titled “The Truly Disadvantaged and the Inner City: A Return to Education, Training, and Placement.” Present at the forum were leaders from some of the most successful job education and training agencies in the United States (such as Job Corps, Youth Build USA, Vocational Foundation, Inc., Youth Opportunity Movement, Center for Employment Training, Remediation and Training Institute, and Alexandria Seaport Foundation).
The forum participants reviewed the underlying principals of the former Eisenhower Foundation funded Argus job training model for youth, and, by using the LaFrance Associates’ report as a starting point, discussed best practices in youth employment education, training, and placemen that could be used to enhance the Argus model and inform development of a new job training model by the Foundation. Click to read "Findings on Youth Employment Training Best Practices" prepared by LaFrance Associates.
Televised on C-SPAN
What Would Geno Do?
at confirmation hearings in 1977
What is public morality? Many religious and secular leaders believe it is more than personal morality – that it is about vision, and what journalist Walter Lippman called “pursuit of the good society.”
How can we create a framework of public morality at a time when poverty has increased four years in a row, tax breaks are being given to the rich, domestic spending is being reduced, schools are becoming more segregated, and the public sector has failed New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina?
One man who dedicated his life to the pursuit of the good society was the late Father Geno Baroni, Assistant Secretary for Neighborhoods at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the late 1970s and the highest ranking priest in the federal executive branch of the government.
On what would have been Baroni’s 75th birthday, the Eisenhower Foundation held a forum on public morality that gathered more than 30 government, religious and secular leaders to discuss his legacy and explore ways it can be put to practice today.
Recap of the two-day forum
Summary of the "Baroni Principles"
Commentary: Invest Hawaii tax surplus in poverty solutions
Eisenhower Foundation President Alan Curtis and Trustee Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute spoke at Facing Hawaii's Future: A Gathering for the Common Good, a forum held by Faith Action For Community Equity (FACE), a local coalition of churches, labor unions, grassroots groups, tenants' organizations and native Hawaiian groups. FACE, the largest advocacy coalition on the island, represents a constituency of over 38,000 that engages in actions and programs that challenge the systems that perpetuate poverty and injustice.
Curtis and Faux spoke on the growing economic rift in America and the need for proven policies that help the truly disadvantaged, issues explored in the Eisenhower Foundation book Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense.
As part of the Eisenhower Foundation capacity building program, the Foundation provided critical media and organizing strategies to the coalition, helping it to achieve coverage and legislative victories on housing and long term health care. Read more about Eisenhower Foundation's capacity building inititiave.
To read Alan Curtis' thought provoking op-ed in the major daily newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser.
To read Columnist Jerry Burris' observations on Hawai'i's Next Social Revolution, click here.
Michelle Takemoto of FACE believes that Hawai'i's Middle Class is in Trouble. To read her Op-Ed, click here.
To read the Honolulu Advertiser's editorial regarding support for caregivers, click here.
New from the Eisenhower Foundation
Now available in paperback
on Amazon and in bookstores
Ex-Offenders Find a Voice at First-Ever National Summit
Ex-offenders and organizers convene the first national conference of Previously Incarcerated Persons at Delancey Street in San Francisco.
In November 2005, the Eisenhower Foundation, in partnership with the Delancey Street Foundation and more than 20 other organizations around the nation, hosted a forum in San Francisco that brought together the concerns of previously incarcerated persons in America with the warnings of President Dwight Eisenhower a half-century ago.
Eisenhower's farewell address, drafted by his brother Milton, warned against the "military-congressional-industrial complex." Today, most observers agree America has a "prison-industrial complex" -- in which huge government prison-building expenditures are made as job-generating economic development grants to rural communities, disproportionately white.
In response to the prison-industrial complex, the Delancey Street Foundation and the Eisenhower Foundation seek to create a national movement that empowers previously incarcerated persons, advocates for the same rights people have in other industrial democracies, expands our replications of Delancey Street, and significantly reduces the American recidivism rate.
More on the first national summit of Previously Incarcerated Persons.
Amy Goodman Interviews Clare Short In Recent Democracy Now! Episode
Goodman, at left, and the Right Honourable Clare Short, MP.
Crusading humanitarian Clare Short, a member of the British Parliament, has been fighting against international issues of hunger and poverty during her entire career in government. A contributor to Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense, Short visited fellow contributor Amy Goodman at her Firehouse studio to tape a segment of Democracy Now! recently in New York. To read a transcript of the exchange or watch the segment (at 128k stream).
Poverty Rise, Katrina Damage:
Both Could Have Been Avoided
Our prayers go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which wracked the U.S. on Aug. 29. The next day, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that a million more Americans had entered the brewing storm of poverty in America − which grew for the fourth straight year.
Next year, tens of thousands of Katrina's victims may be added to the list of those who live on less than $19,300 for a year family of four. The total is now 37 million Americans, with more well on their way there.
Eisenhower president Alan Curtis is featured in a nationally syndicated column by William Raspberry in the Washington Post, who writes that this fourth-year economic disaster could have been avoided – much like the catastrophic aftermath of Katrina. Read the full article.
Poverty Standard 'a Joke' In Costly American Cities
In response to the Census data, the San Diego Union-Tribune correctly observed that $19,300 can't go far for a family of four in a major city.
In San Diego, the average small apartment rents for $1,210 -- or $14,520 a year. Subtract that from $20,000, and that family of four will be having a pretty lean year. Trouble is, that $20,000 is above the poverty level. This will shut the door to most poverty assistance.
Experts agree that the real income needed to escape poverty in America is significantly higher than the 40-year-old federal standard.
Eisenhower president Alan Curtis told the paper that "the long-term trend is to ignore the realities of the poor." For a look at what it takes for a family to really break even, please click here for the full story.
From East Coast to West Coast, Outrage Over Poverty in America
After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the state of America's poor was vividly brought before us -- the face of a nation that many of us seem to avoid until disaster strikes.
As a nation consumed with the lives of the rich and famous, we rarely seem concerned about the 37 million Americans who live below the poverty level. Now will we remember these images of desperation, and work for change, or will the memories fade yet again?
On the West Coast, the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the recent shift in focus toward the poor. On the East Coast, Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher write of the new "celebrity poor" in The Washington Post. Eisenhower president Alan Curtis is quoted in both.
Panelists Urge Practical U.S. Policies for World Leadership
Joseph C. Wilson, left, with Richard Leone, Alan Curtis, and Clare Short at Eisenhower Foundation forum Feb. 15.
Many of the world’s current ills can be solved with sensible, mutually supportive policies – if its leaders could merely turn from immoral, avaricious foreign and domestic policies to populist, democratic
policies that benefit average workers and their families.
For Dr. Curtis' presentation, please click here; for Richard Leone, click here; for Joseph C. Wilson, click here; and for Clare Short, please click here.
Concerns of Working America Addressed in Eisenhower Forum
Labor and the Eisenhower Foundation came together as one April 27 at the National Labor College for a major forum based on themes addressed in new book, Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense.
“The Eisenhower Foundation didn’t just write a book,” said Labor College president Sue Schurman. “This is part of a campaign to take our country back and make it what it ought to be.”
Dr. Alan Curtis, editor of the volume, was joined by noted economist Jeff Faux and Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Labor College faculty member, on the panel moderated by Dr. Schurman during sometimes contentious question-and-answer.
Each presenter received a standing ovation.
Dr. Schurman told 55 labor leaders from around the U.S. about the foundation’s roots in the civil-rights movement. “That was your calling – the social-justice movement,” she told the authors of the book who comprised the forum panel.
“You found the labor movement a natural extension of that movement. And if labor is going to grow, and help take back our country and take back our movement, then we must make common cause with people like the Eisenhower Foundation and the ideas contained in Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense.”
Dr. Curtis received sustained applause from union leaders during a portion of his presentation that focused on “public morality”:
“It is publicly immoral for a fifth of America’s youngest children to live in poverty,” he stated to a round of applause. “It is immoral for America’s CEOs to earn 400 times more than America’s workers and 250 times more than its teachers” – a comment well understood by the unionists.
For a transcript of the proceedings, please click here.
Dr. Alan Curtis
Eisenhower Principals Get the Ear of Congress
Poverty, unemployment, poor education, racism, and the highest incarceration rates in the world remain American dilemmas that diminish the credibility and "soft power" of the U.S. in the eyes of other nations.
Yet cost-effective solutions exist, as illustrated by the Congressional testimony of two Eisenhower Foundation principals.
Testifying before the Congressional Black Caucus, Eisenhower President Alan Curtis concluded the issue is not lack of knowledge, but lack of will. "We already know what works for the truly disadvantaged and need to replicate it to a scale equal to the dimensions of the problem." For Dr. Curtis' presentation, click here.
Washington Standardized Test Gets Failing Grade from Students
Students in Washington state have a new hurdle to clear in order to graduate -- the Washington Assessment of Student Learning. It's a hot topic among parents, and students say the test "is an unfair addition to graduation requirements."
In some schools, almost half the students fail the standardized test, beginning in 9th grade. If you don't pass in your senior year, you can forget about a high school diploma. For the latest on the controversy, please click here for a new developments in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Social Security Going Broke?Immigration a Problem?
Maybe Not, Experts Say
babybust Sen. Harris
Sen. Fred Harris
Rumors of the death of Social Security are greatly exaggerated, thanks in part to continuing immigration, experts said at a recent Eisenhower forum in Washington.
The thoughtful analyses presented at the forum are now available in The Baby Bust: Who Will Do the Work? Who Will Pay the Taxes?, edited by former Senator Fred R. Harris. This landmark book of essays by demographic, economic, and political science experts, examines the "birth dearth" and its causes, implications, and policy options.
When one looks at the Social Security system and immigration trends in the U.S., production is going to increase, not sharply drop as some predict. Wages will be going up, and as a result, the Social Security system will be as healthy as it has been in years.
At a time when both Social Security and Immigration Policy are center stage in the political debate, it is important to fully understand the sometimes technical and confusing issues.
For more information on the content of the book, Click Here.
To order the book from Amazon, Click Here or Click the book image above.
Full-text versions of two of the papers presented at the forum are available below:
The Baby Boom in Historical Perspective, by Herbert S. Klein
Latino Immigrants, National Identity and the National Interest, by Rodolfo de la Garza
Pablo Eisenberg, Senior Fellow with the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University, tennis player extraordinaire and Eisenhower Foundation board of trustees member, writes regularly for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. We are pleased to share his ruminations on politics, principles and philanthropy with you. Here are his latest missives:
Americans Generous? Not Really: January 24, 2008
Government Must Move Quickly to Aid the Smithsonian: November 15, 2007
Bill Clinton's Book on Giving Misses the Key Issues: September 20, 2007
Newspaper Cuts Are a Threat to Charities' Accountability: August 23, 2007
Charities Should Remain Nonpolitical: June 28, 2007
Public Has Right to Know: April 5, 2007
Gates: Role Model in Need of Remodeling: March 8, 2007
Skyrocketing CEO Pay Raises Questions for Charities: Feb. 8, 2007
Congress Should End Special Tax Breaks for Art Gifts: Oct. 12, 2006
How to Stem the Nonprofit-Leadership Deficit: Sept. 28, 2006
Gates-Buffett Merger Isn't Good for Philanthropy: July 20, 2006
Why Don't Charities and Lawmakers Want to Curb Nonprofit Abuses?: Jun. 29, 2006
A Questionable Moral Decision: Mar. 20, 2006
After Katrina: What Foundations Should Do: Jan. 26, 2006
Philanthropy Loses Two of Its Giants:
Waldemar Nielsen and Alan Pifer: Nov. 24, 2005
When You Can't Trust the Trustees: Oct. 27, 2005
Philanthropy Must Challenge Corporate America: Aug. 18, 2005
Excessive Executive Compensation Needs to Be Stemmed: April 29, 2004
What Congress Can Do to Fight Charity and Foundation Abuses: March 18, 2004
The Public Loses Out When Charities Become Too Businesslike: June 10, 2004
Accrediting Charities Isn't Government's Role: Aug. 5, 2004
The Unsung Heroes of Philanthropy: May 1, 2003
Why Foundation Grants Shouldn't Mix With Politics: Feb. 6, 2003
The Buck Stops with the Board of Directors -- Or at Least It Should: Oct. 17, 2002
Saturday, March 29, 2008