Viewpoint

The following is one in a series of ‘letters’ written to United States President Barack Obama.

Dear Mr. President,

You should send a congratulatory note to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chamber President Tom Donohue. In fact, so should all Democrats.

Donohue is right on the money. His advice to the Republican Party last month is something they should pay attention to.

blackpeoplePresident Barack Obama might be the only black person on the planet who cares about climate change. Well, not really, but close—the ill-fated climate-change debate is as white as late-night talk shows. It’s that way for a number of reasons: from who funds either side of the heated climate conversation to allegations that environmentalists routinely dis black perspectives on the topic.

Most egregious is a pervasive lack of urgent black political action on the subject. On Monday the administration of the first black president, who is also the first president to seriously tackle climate change, announced ambitious Environmental Protection Agency rules that cut carbon emissions by 30 percent through 2030. That’s huge.

building7News Americas, London, England, Weds. May 21, 2014: A question that always seems to arise in the interviews that invariably follow every hint at an improvement in US-Cuba relations is what might this mean for Caribbean tourism?

This, and variations on the same theme, all start from the premise that one day soon the US administration will allow all its citizens to travel freely to Cuba, and that the effect will be for visitors  to abandon the rest of the region, with disastrous economic consequences for the Caribbean  hospitality sector.

opopopI am not against online activism. In fact, I believe in it and have been moved by its power. From typhoon relief fundraisers to voter-recruitment efforts, I have participated in these Internet-based campaigns and have seen the power that lies in we Americans when we are aligned to create change from behind our computers. It felt good to lend a hand and to know that my contributions made a difference in various campaigns.

But I think hashtag activism should be used judiciously, especially when it comes to issues affecting the black community, at home and abroad. In some situations, it risks offering users of social media a false sense of accomplishment while obscuring underlying policy and structural issues as well as the full picture of what is taking place on the ground.

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