Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois
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Remarks By U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush On the State of African American Men Conference

Jun 14, 2004
Press Release

Chicago, IL. ---- Good morning. I want to thank Congressman Danny Davis, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., and the distinguished organizing committee for convening this important Conference.

African American men are challenged by many sectors of society. All too often, the vestiges of institutional racism are pervasive in the everyday lives of many black men, impacting upon their successful integration into mainstream American society.

In health, African American men die earlier from heart disease, from prostrate cancer, and from HIV/AIDS.
In fact, black men are at greater risk of developing prostrate cancer than any other race, and are diagnosed with the disease at a later stage more often than most other races.

African American men are incarcerated at a rate six times more than white males, and four times the rate of black males in South Africa. Black males in American jails outnumber black males in American colleges.

This is a national disgrace. Again, our nation's prisons have more African American men than our nation's colleges.
In employment, black men are unemployed at a rate 5 to 10 times, higher, on the average, than that of white men!

Indeed, in all areas of American society, African American men face the ultimate challenge in their critical, everyday choices.

So, I stand here today, as an African American male, with African American sons, and grandsons, to work along with community leaders in addressing the plight of the African American male. At the upcoming June 25 conference, I will be a part of the dialogue, pushing for increased awareness and action, and working to create positive solutions to our problems and our challenges.

Our problems and challenges are America's problems and challenges!

The time is now to construct a comprehensive plan of action to address the state of the African American male.