Trump agrees to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus after a press conference flub.

On Jan. 19, the Congressional Black Caucus sent Trump a letter. On Feb. 16, he answered.

There were plenty of highlights (and lowlights) from Trump's wild first solo press conference as president, but one moment in particular stood out.

Trump called on April Ryan, a reporter for American Urban Radio Networks, who asked if Trump planned to include the Congressional Black Caucus in discussions surrounding Trump's "inner city agenda."


"Well, I would. I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?" responded Trump. "Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours? Set up the meeting. Let's go. Set up a meeting."

While Ryan acknowledged that she does know some of the members of the CBC, she's a reporter, and setting up meetings between members of Congress and the president is not her job — at all.

What makes the whole situation even more bizarre is the fact that the CBC has been trying to set up a meeting with the president, even sending him a letter last month.

They took to the president's favorite medium, Twitter, to offer a reminder.

The group's five-page letter, offers a point-by-point response to the "New Deal for Black America" that Trump touted during the campaign, calling his plan "the same old 'Trickle Down' economics assumptions that didn’t work for our communities in the 1980’s or in the 2000’s when these failed experiments were tried before."

Still, the CBC indicated an interest in meeting with the president, ending the letter with a "sincere hope that [he] will accept this invitation to engage in an earnest effort to work together on these issues."

As Trump has a tendency to do, he placed blame on someone else. In this case, CBC member and 11-term Congressman Elijah Cummings.

"I actually thought I had a meeting with Congressman Cummings," Trump said. "And he was all excited and then he said, ‘Well, I can’t move, it might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting.’ I was all set to have that meeting. We called him and called him and he was all set. ... But he was probably told: ‘Don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.’ And that’s part of the problem with this country."

According to Cummings, that never happened. "I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today," he told the Washington Post.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The entire encounter was a sight to behold, but at least something good seems to be coming out of it: The CBC is finally getting its meeting with Trump.

And yes, it was April Ryan who reported the story (it all comes full circle).

“For whatever reason, the letter the Congressional Black Caucus sent to then President-elect Trump and incoming White House officials on January 19 was not enough to get their attention,” Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) said in a statement obtained by The Hill. "Since the White House has reached out in an appropriate manner to request a meeting with the caucus, I am now in discussions with them about setting one up."

While this situation seems to have resolved itself, this isn't a good look for Trump, who has a less than stellar record on race-related issues (to say the least).

Earlier this month, he delivered a bizarre Black History Month statement that included some bragging about his electoral victory (Trump received just an estimated 8% of the African-American vote) as well as a shoutout to Frederick Douglass, who Trump said, "is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice." (It's not entirely clear whether Trump realized that Douglass has been dead for more than 120 years.)

Trump delivers his Black History Month statement. Photo by Michael Reynolds/Getty Images.

Even if you set these aside as rhetorical flubs, there's a pattern of Trump lumping all black Americans together in one homogeneous group and suggesting that they all live in "inner cities." This kind of stereotyping is wrong, it's offensive, and it doesn't help support Trump's own assertion that he's the "least racist person" you've ever seen.

So yeah, meeting with black leaders in Congress is a start. Let's hope he really hears what they have to say.

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Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Kenneth Goldsmith / Twitter

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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