TV ONE POLITICAL EDITOR ROLAND MARTIN SITS DOWN WITH THE PRESIDENT FOR �LIVING THE DREAM: AN INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA,� A MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY SPECIAL JAN. 18 AT 8 PM ET
-- Hour-long primetime special edition of Washington Watch with Roland Martin explores the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as current issues important to African Americans, including jobs and unemployment, education, race in America, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan --
Silver Spring, MD - TV One offers viewers a very special Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday programming event Monday, January 18th from 8-9 PM ET, repeating at 11 PM ET, when the network presents Living the Dream: An Interview with President Barack Obama. Conducted by host of Washington Watch with Roland Martin and TV One political editor Roland Martin, this all-new primetime Washington Watch special interview with the 44th President of the United States will focus on a host of issues of concern to African Americans, including education, poverty, the economy, jobs and unemployment, parental responsibility, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, al Qaeda, health care, race in America, and the controversial comments of Sen. Harry Reid as quoted in a new book about the 2008 campaign.
In addition, the special will also explore the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the President and how Dr. King's lessons are still applicable in the 21st Century, as well as reflect on the historic nature of Barack Obama's Presidency.
When Martin asks the President about the idea of a post-racial America, President Obama says, "In terms of the larger issue of race in America, I've been the first one to say my election didn't represent the end of racial controversies or the solution to race relations in this country. We've been dealing with this for hundreds of years. We've got a legacy of slavery, of Jim Crow. We've got discrimination, there are still suspicions, and stereotypes that linger in our culture. Those things aren't going to go away overnight. I don't think anybody expects them to. I think that what we can honestly say is that progress has been made. I'm in the Oval Office. You are able to do an interview for a black-owned TV station. Those are things that didn't exist, not just 50 years ago, they didn't exist 15 years ago. And so, obviously, things have changed, but that doesn't mean that there's not still going to be the need for constant evolution on the part of the country so that there's greater understanding, greater empathy, people are not subject to some of the sensitivities that they are right now because everybody feels like they've got an equal stake in our society. We're not there yet. I think we're going to get there."
The President tells Martin that, if he had one priority for African Americans to focus on during the second year of his Presidency, it would be jobs.
"What we have to do is to make sure, on the one hand, we're rebuilding the economy so that economic growth is matched by job growth - opportunity is there - and then the African American community has to be able and willing to take advantage of that opportunity," President Obama says. "So what does that mean? On the government side, that means we continue to make investments in things like clean energy that are going to make a difference In fact one of the things I've been really promoting is weatherization of old buildings in urban communities across the country - we can train young men and young women who are right now unemployed to get a skill, get a trade, and by the way, also cut down on the heating bill, or electricity bill of low income persons in those communities and revitalize those communities and start businesses, so government has a responsibility there. But we've also got to make sure that our kids can be trained for those jobs. Because there's not going to be a job where you don't need to know math, where you don't need to read at a high level, and that's going to require both government action, better teachers, better funding for classroom equipment and technology, but it's also going to require parents and the kids themselves to say, 'It is not enough for us to be passive bystanders and wait for success. We've got to seize it.' And that requires hard work."
When Martin asks if he believes, as some have claimed, that his Presidency is the culmination of Dr. King's Dream, or part of a continuum, President Obama says, "I think it's part of a longer journey that we're on. I think that, obviously, it's a punctuation mark in history. It's a comma, where we say to ourselves, after all that effort, after all those struggles, look at all the possibilities that we can now aspire to, but Dr. King's dream was that every child in America, regardless of race, regardless of station to which they were born, that they would have the same opportunities as everybody else, that they would be able to get an outstanding education, that they would be able to live in a safe community, that they would be able to have decent health care and retire with dignity and respect and go to college and make sure that their children did even better than they did, and we're not there yet. We've just gone through the worst economic crisis since the great depression that has hit the African American community harder than just about any other community, except maybe the Latino community. Unemployment in the African American community is at intolerable levels - it was very high even before the crisis. And I think Dr. King rightly would say that, until we have justice for the least of these, we still have a long way to go."
During the hour, Martin gets an insider's perspective on the First Family and how the President copes with the stresses of the office as he talks with Valerie Jarrett, longtime friend and adviser to the President and Mrs. Obama. Jarrett is Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.
Martin, the award-winning journalist and host and Managing Editor for TV One's Washington Watch with Roland Martin, is also a CNN contributor, senior analyst for the Tom Joyner Morning Show and a syndicated columnist for the Creators Syndicate. He is releasing his third book, The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House on January 20, 2010.
Launched on the Martin Luther King birthday holiday in January 2004, TV One (www.tvoneonline.com) serves more than 49.5 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies, and music designed to entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult African American viewers. TV One's investors include Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK; www.radio-one.com], the largest radio company that primarily targets African American and urban listeners; Comcast Corporation [NASDAQ: CMCSA and CMCSK; www.comcast.com], the leading cable television company in the country; The DirecTV Group; Constellation Ventures; Syndicated Communications; and Opportunity Capital Partners.