The Common Good

All Americans at the Table

President Obama, in taking the nation into its next chapter, I am counting on you to remember those who have been left behind and forgotten by too many of your predecessors.

The janitor working double-shifts to keep the heat on. The disabled veteran who can't find a steady job. The young mother worried that her neighborhood public school won't get her kids ready for college. All Americans -- especially those in low-income communities and communities of color -- must be given the chance to participate and prosper.

Every decision you make can be crafted to have a positive impact on these vulnerable communities. The federal budget is not just numbers on a ledger -- it is a living moral document.

When you tackle global warming, you can steer jobs to low-income workers and kick polluters out of their neighborhoods. When you invest in our long-neglected national infrastructure, you can make sure public transit lines connect people to jobs, and broadband lines finally come to all communities. When you reflect on the grassroots power of your campaign, you can instill that same ethic in the federal government by opening up the process and bringing the concerns of all people to the table.

Every American must have the opportunity to share his or her gifts and hopes with the world. An American president who remembers this every day -- and holds it as a central tenet of his presidency -- will be a true success.

Angela Glover Blackwell, a Sojourners board member, is founder and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. For more on equitable development, including a toolkit for applying it to your community, visit "Resources" at www.policylink.org.

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