President Barack Obama met with African-American church and faith leaders at the White House to discuss the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. The discussion with the President focused on how civil rights and equality are closely tied to voting rights and closing the gap on education, unemployment, and access to health care. The church and faith leaders were in Washington for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. They represented major African-American church denominations. Meeting with President Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House were: Dr. Carroll Baltimore, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention; Bishop George Battle, Senior Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; Bishop John Bryant, Senior Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church; Bishop Thomas Hoyt, Senior Bishop, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; Bishop Michael Kelsey, Executive Treasurer, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship; Rev. Alvin Love, National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc; Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., Progressive National Baptist Convention; Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder/President, National Action Network; Rev. Stephen Thurston, President, National Baptist Convention of America; Dr. C.T. Vivian, President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, Executive Director, Skinner Leadership Institute. Administration Officials in the meeting included:Attorney General Eric Holder; Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; Melissa Rogers, Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State. During the meeting President Obama noted that while the country has made enormous strides in the decades since the March, more work remains to be done to ensure that our country is more fair, more free, and more just than it was 50 years ago. The President noted that his Administration is continuing to fight to ensure that the right to vote is protected, and he also discussed the upcoming start of open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, and that the difficult but critical work of enrolling millions of Americans in health exchanges around the country continues. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 7.3 million African Americans with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services with no cost, and nearly 7 million African Americans without health insurance will newly have access to quality, affordable health insurance options in 2014. The church and faith leaders told the President about their plans to work with their congregations and partners to inform people about the Marketplace. The President thanked the leaders for their prayers, and said that he looks forward to continuing to work with them. The President and the faith leaders concluded their meeting with a prayer.
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