Last week I walked into a gathering of more than 2000 professional Black women called The Links, Inc, at Cobo Hall for a sit down interview with Dr. Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and the first African-American woman appointed to that top post.
After I received the call from Rice’s spokesperson, Mark Kornblau, days before her arrival in Detroit stating that he had gotten my name from the White House media department, and was seeking my interest for an interview with his boss, I wondered what message Rice was bringing to Detroit.
Rice is not the labor or treasury secretary to bring a message to Detroit that will resonate with the victims of a tough economic climate. Addressing the economic stimulus package or the high unemployment rate that has become indelible is totally outside of her diplomatic assignments.
But for the top U.S. diplomat stationed at the world’s most recognizable body, the UN, it is within Rice’s purview to talk about how Detroit is a global village and a microcosm of the struggles against inequality around the world.
“The struggle for real equality, both at home and abroad, is one of my life’s greatest passions. The shared belief that all people have equal worth, equal consequence, and yes equal rights lies at the heart of our nation – even as we in this room recognize so well that we have many miles yet to go to make that promise fully manifest, whether at home or around the world,” Rice told delegates to the Links conference. “The Links don’t just work to advance the cause of equality at home. You understand something essential about today’s interconnected world, and that is more and more, all of our fates are bound together, at both the national level and globally.”
Ambassador Rice went on to name what she considers to be today’s threats — rolling out the hot button issues in U.S. foreign policy — such as terrorism, pandemic disease, nuclear proliferation, criminal networks, environmental degradation, genocide, hunger, etc.
So when I sat down with Rice she bolstered the position of President Barack Obama’s administration on the issues she mentioned and its impact in Third World nations in Africa. She talked about the need for young people to obtain a global education that allows them to interact and exchange ideas with people of different cultures as well as familiarize themselves with how the world is rapidly changing.
But that message from Ambassador Rice is a very familiar theme in our own backyard where one school, the Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women, is creating a niche in the educational paradigm in Detroit.
In fact, Rice should consider visiting this center of educational excellence that is home to teenage moms who are learning skilled trades to not only fend for themselves and their babies but to also become worthy ambassadors of their communities to the outside world.