Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

HCZ in the Guardian

In the Guardian today, from London, an article about President-elect Obama’s campaign promises, and which ones he may choose to tackle first:

ON the corner of 125th Street and Madison Avenue at the heart of Harlem in New York stands an unusual building. It is the bright, modern, six-storey headquarters of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a unique community-building project that has transformed the lives of thousands of youngsters from one of America’s most historic – and most downtrodden – black neighbourhoods.

A few blocks away from Harlem landmarks such as the Apollo theatre and Sylvia’s soul food restaurant, the HCZ offers a compelling opportunity to examine one of Obama’s core election pledges.

In a campaign largely filled with blithe generalities, he made a promise that could scarcely have been more specific: “When I’m president, the first part of my plan to combat urban poverty will be to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone in 20 cities across the country,” he said on several occasions. “We will find the money to do this because we can’t afford not to.”

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