The State of the Union and African Americans

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    While the State of the Union is a unique opportunity for President Obama to talk directly with all Americans, this year’s speech has special significance for African Americans.

    The 2014 speech emphasizes three primary themes — opportunity, action, and optimism. Opportunity initially appears the most relevant to African Americans, as the president likely will talk about increasing the minimum wage to more than $10, job training, and expanded Pre-K programs.

    Both action and optimism, however, are perhaps even more important, because they prompt African Americans to proactively define both short-term and long-term policy priorities.

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