President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Jason Collins – Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Misty Copeland – Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Alonzo H. Mourning, Jr. – Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Rachael Ray – Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Robert Thomas Shepardson – Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Michèle Taylor – Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
President Obama said, “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Jason Collins, Appointee for Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Jason Collins is a professional basketball player with the Brooklyn Nets, where he has played since 2014. Previously, he played for the Washington Wizards, the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the New Jersey Nets. He joined the National Basketball Association in 2001 after playing for Stanford University, where he was a National Association of Basketball Coaches third team All-American and a member of the All-PAC-10 first team. Mr. Collins is a partner with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Mr. Collins received a B.A. from Stanford University.
Misty Copeland, Appointee for Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Misty Copeland is the first African American female soloist in more than two decades at American Ballet Theatre (ABT), a company she joined in 2000. She actively supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BCGA) and is its Youth of the Year Ambassador. In 2012 she was inducted into the BCGA Alumni Hall of Fame. She recently helped launch ABT’s Project Plié, a national diversity initiative in ballet. Ms. Copeland received the Council of Urban Professionals’ inaugural Breakthrough Award in 2012 and was the Black Girls Rock! Young, Gifted & Black honoree in 2013. In 2008, she received the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts. Ms. Copeland studied at the Lauridsen Ballet Center, the San Francisco Ballet School, and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program.
Alonzo H. Mourning, Jr., Appointee for Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Alonzo H. Mourning, Jr. is Vice President, Player Programs for the Miami Heat Basketball Organization, a position he has held since 2009. Mr. Mourning played with the Miami Heat from 1995 to 2002 and from 2005 to 2008 and was a member of the Heat team that won the 2006 National Basketball Association (NBA) Championship. Previously, he played for the New Jersey Nets and the Charlotte Hornets. Mr. Mourning is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014. He is a seven-time All-Star, a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1999. In 2009, he became the first Miami Heat player to have his number retired. He is a founder of a number of charitable organizations, including the Mourning Family Foundation, Athletes for Hope, Zo’s Fund for Life, and the Overtown Youth Center. Mr. Mourning received a B.A. from Georgetown University.
Rachael Ray, Appointee for Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition
Rachael Ray is the host of a syndicated daytime television show, The Rachael Ray Show. Additionally, she is the founder of the lifestyle magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray and has created her own brands of cookware, cutlery, kitchen tools, and signature food ingredients. In 2008, she created a line of pet food called Nutrish, from which she donates her proceeds to help support animals in need. In 2007, Ms. Ray launched Yum-o!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering kids and their families to develop healthier relationships with food and cooking. Ms. Ray’s television shows have received three Emmy Awards.
Robert Thomas Shepardson, Appointee for Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Robert Thomas Shepardson is a Partner with SS+K, a firm he co-founded in 1993. He has worked for over 25 years in public affairs, advertising, and marketing. At SS+K, his portfolio has included work for the Obama for America campaigns in 2008 and 2012 as well as for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! and Joining Forces initiatives. Previously, he was a managing director at the Sawyer Miller Group from 1988 to 1993. Mr. Shepardson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and several business and charitable boards, including the New York advisory board of Enterprise Community Partners and the advisory board of the Center for Health Communication at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. Mr. Shepardson received a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College and an M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Michèle Taylor, Appointee for Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Michèle Taylor has served since 2004 as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Outward Bound School, where she is also Chair of the Governance Committee and immediate past Secretary. She also volunteers as a Lead Instructor and Course Director for the school. Ms. Taylor is a member of the Southeast Regional Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League and a member of Atlanta's Midtown Improvement District Board of Directors. She is also a member of the American Jewish Committee’s Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition. She is an advisor to Atlanta’s Mayor, Kasim Reed, and served as Co-Chair of his 2013 re-election campaign. Previously, she served on the board of Congregation Or Hadash, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, and Ahavath Achim Synagogue. Ms. Taylor received a B.A. from Mills College and an M.A. from Boston University.
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Attack in Kabul
The United States condemns the attack today in Kabul that killed three Americans working to provide health care to Afghans. Any such attack on civilians at a hospital is despicable and cowardly. We send our deepest condolences to the families of all those killed and injured.
The United States continues to strongly support those in Afghanistan who abhor this violence and are working to build a peaceful, prosperous future for themselves. We remain proud of all Americans serving in Afghanistan, working shoulder-to-shoulder with Afghan partners toward our shared goal of a sovereign, stable, secure, and democratic Afghanistan.
Statement by the President on Armenian Remembrance Day
Today we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor those who perished in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. We recall the horror of what happened ninety-nine years ago, when 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, and we grieve for the lives lost and the suffering endured by those men, women, and children. We are joined in solemn commemoration by millions in the United States and across the world. In so doing, we remind ourselves of our shared commitment to ensure that such dark chapters of human history are never again repeated.
I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests. Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past. We continue to learn this lesson in the United States, as we strive to reconcile some of the darkest moments in our own history. We recognize and commend the growing number of courageous Armenians and Turks who have already taken this path, and encourage more to do so, with the backing of their governments, and mine. And we recall with pride the humanitarian efforts undertaken by the American Committee for Syrian and Armenian Relief, funded by donations from Americans, which saved the lives of countless Armenians and others from vulnerable communities displaced in 1915.
As we honor through remembrance those Armenian lives that were unjustly taken in 1915, we are inspired by the extraordinary courage and great resiliency of the Armenian people in the face of such tremendous adversity and suffering. I applaud the countless contributions that Armenian-Americans have made to American society, culture, and communities. We share a common commitment to supporting the Armenian people as they work to build a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous nation.
Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Armenians everywhere, as we recall the horror of the Meds Yeghern, honor the memory of those lost, and reaffirm our enduring commitment to the people of Armenia and to the principle that such atrocities must always be remembered if we are to prevent them from occurring ever again.
Toast Remarks by President Obama at State Dinner
7:48 P.M. JST
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good evening. Konbanwa. Your Majesties, I thank you for the extraordinary welcome that you have given to me and my delegation today, and I thank you for your gracious hospitality tonight.
Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe, distinguished guests and friends: It has been nearly 50 years since my mother first brought me to Japan, but I have never forgotten the kindness that the Japanese people showed me as a six-year-old boy far away from home. I remain grateful for the welcome that Your Majesties gave me when I returned here as President, on the 20th anniversary of your ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
And I am deeply honored to be with you as a Guest of State tonight -- which is a reflection of the great friendship between our two peoples.
It's also very humbling. I stand here as the 44th President of the United States. Your Majesty is the 125th Emperor of Japan. And your family has embodied the spirit of the Japanese people across more than two millennia. And we feel that spirit here tonight -- in His Majesty’s commitment to achieving peace and the resilience of the Japanese people, who despite difficult decades, despite the tragedies of three years ago, continue to inspire the world with your strength and discipline and dignity -- your hinkaku.
And I saw that spirit today. In the glory of the Meiji Shrine, I experienced the beauty of a religious ceremony rooted in Japan’s ancient past. In my work with Prime Minister Abe, we have strengthened our alliance for today -- an alliance that will never be broken. And in the eager students that I met, and the remarkable technologies that I saw, I glimpsed the future our nations can forge together.
Through all of this, although we are separated by vast oceans, our peoples come together every day in every realm. We create and build together, sparking new innovations for a changing world. We study and research together, unlocking new discoveries to cure disease and save lives. We go to the far corners of the Earth together -- to keep the peace and feed the hungry. And we go to space together to understand the mysteries of the universe. We stand together in moments of joy -- as when Japanese baseball players help propel America’s teams to victory. And we stand together in moments of difficulty and pain, as we did three years ago.
Your Majesty, we will never forget how, in those trying days, you spoke from this palace directly to the people of this nation. And I would like to conclude by recalling the spirit of your message then, because it also remains our wish tonight, for the friendship and alliance between our two peoples.
May we never give up hope. May we always take care of each other. And may we continue to live strong for tomorrow.
7:53 P.M. JST