"Are you better off than you were four years ago," is the question the Restore the Dream 2014 campaign is asking African-Americans.
Last week at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C., TheTeaParty.net's Niger Innis, along side civil rights activist Dr. Alveda King, kicked off the campaign. Later, he and others traveled to New York City, Raleigh, North Carolina, and they concluded the tour in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Restore the Dream campaign wants to energize the African-American community to "embrace liberty, individual freedom, free markets and school-choice education," something they believe the Obama administration has hindered.
“Hope and change liberals have failed the black community," said Innis.
New statistics help backup Innis' belief that "the sad state of affairs didn’t come to fruition under one President, but tragically under a Presidency that promised so much; the situation in these communities has gotten much worse.”
The stats include:
- Only 52% of African-American males graduate from high school in four years.
- Unemployment rate among African-Americans is 11.5%. That’s twice the national average.
- The poverty rate for African-Americans has increased sharply since 2008, rising from 12% to 16.1%.
- The average income for African-Americans is $20,000 less than the national average.
- African-American home ownership is 21% less than the rest of the country.
- According to the 2013 National Report Card, the gap in fourth-grade math test scores between black and white students has widened to 40 points — the largest gap since the national study began in 2003.
Innis appeared on several news programs in New York, met with local pastors and other clergy in Raleigh, and met with Ferguson's mayor, James Knowles, Police Chief Thomas Jackson, and State Senator Marie Chappelle-Nadal.
"All meetings were appreciative of 'Restore the Dream's' involvement and felt there was a role 'Restore the Dream' could bring about in what they all want regardless of the political persuasion, which is peace and racial reconciliation," said Innis.
He is passionate about refuting the "radical racialization" of the left and their combative rhetoric towards racial issues. Innis shared the example of a political flyer put out by the Democratic party in Georgia that implies voting Democrat this November prevents another Ferguson. Last August, 18-year-old Michael Brown, was shot and killed by Ferguson Police officer, Darren Wilson.
"They are exploiting the death of Michael Brown in a crass and devilish way," said Innis. "That is the kind of vicious racialization that we want to combat and one of the things we said throughout our journey is that you have to get passed the racial symbolism and ask the question, 'how is the black community doing after 6 years of hope and change?'"
Innis is confident that the success of the tour and ongoing campaign will ensure many more "Restore the Dream" tours to come.