updated 7/14/2013 5:45:25 PM ET 2013-07-14T21:45:25

Last Tuesday, the Congressional Black Caucus had it's first meeting with President Obama in over two years.

Last Tuesday, the Congressional Black Caucus had it’s first meeting with President Obama in over two years.

Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who chairs the caucus, said the group discussed the high unemployment rate among African-Americans, now at 13.7 %. Education and poverty, particularly directing funds into poor under-served communities as a whole was also a part of the conversation in what was “an excellent meeting,” Fudge said Saturday on MSNBC.

When asked what suggestions the president had regarding the recently gutted Voting Rights Act, Fudge made it clear that the caucus, not the president, were the ones with the ideas.

“It wasn’t so much the president offering suggestions, it was the black caucus offering suggestions as to what we think can be done through the justice department, what we think should be done through congress,” she said.

Watch Sunday’s interview for more on what Fudge had to share.

Video: Fudge: The change that needs to occur

  1. Closed captioning of: Fudge: The change that needs to occur

    >>> from sanford, florida , straight to the halls of capital hill , george zimmerman drawing reaction. when they read not guilty, it echoed across the country. harry reid , a long- time trial lawyer himself, had this to say when asked about the verdict on mp "meet the press."

    >> i don't always agree with what the jury does, but that's a system. i support the system. now, i may feel differently, but i wasn't sitting as a juror or a prosecutor or defense attorney , so i'll accept the verdict and take a look at the law they have in florida that is so unusual.

    >> the senator referring to florida 's stand your ground law. joining me from washington is chair of the congressional black caucus , ohio congresswoman marsha fudge. thank you for joining us. i want to say we brought on you because you have the opportunity and talk about meeting with the president this past week. but since we have the verdict now of the george zimmerman trial, what is your reaction to what we all know and what questions we all might have as a country now?

    >> well, first off, thank you for having me. i am certainly disheartened and troubled by the decision. but i have to say that he was found not guilty, mr. zimmerman was found not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt . he was not found innocent. i think all of the facts that i know, that i'm aware of, is that there was a young man walking in his neighborhood, walking to his house, unarmed and someone decided he looked suspicious. now mr. trayvon martin is dead. and what i could see of the trial, they put him on trial. not mr. zimmerman . they put a young, black boy on trial for being in his own neighborhood walking home from the store.

    >> so, as we look at this, though, to have to accept it judicially as a country, the outrage is from a social perspective. and it's not socially acceptable that this happened. so, how do we take this and make a better change and utilize this as a way to shore up major fractures within our society.

    >> i think there are a number of things. i can't say that i believe that the judicial system is biased but i believe those who apply the law and interpret the law often are biased. and i think that's what you may have seen in this instance. clearly, beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high threshold to meet, especially if the only witness you have is the person who pulled the trigger. i think we have to find a better way of making sure that profiling stops in this country. we also have to find a way to keep people like mr. zimmerman from having guns. we need to make clear that not only did mr. zimmerman have his ability to stand his ground and protect himself, so does trayvon martin. he is being followed by someone. he has a right to stand his ground as well. i think florida has serious issues as it relates to this law. i think they are not even-handed in the way they dispense justice. just in jacksonville, very recently a young mother who fired a warning shot into the air after she was being attacked by her husband, into the air. no one was injured. she received a sentence of 20 years. in the same state. she couldn't hold her ground. that says to me that there is a difference in the way we dispense justice between those who are african-american or poor or minority than others.

    >> that same woman had a protective order against her husband as well because of abuse suffered in the marriage in the past.

    >> absolutely.

    >> a lot of questions surrounding that. i do want -- we have to meet the promise of getting you on to talk about the meeting that had you with the president. so, if you'll forgive me, i want to shift gears with you because as i did mention, you are the chair of the congressional black caucus . in the past the cbc has been critical of the white house 's efforts, specifically the president's efforts on african-american unemployment as it stands at 13.7%. in this meeting with the president, did that come up? and if so, how did he address it with you?

    >> indeed it did come up. we talked about jobs, talked about education, things that not just affect black community but poor, underserved, minority communities. he talked with us about his plans for education going forward. he talked with us about trying to get a jobs plan in place. we had a lot of good discussion about a lot of issues we think confront our communities. in particular, poverty. poverty is a major issue in this country. we talked about making sure that we can direct funding to communities who are in most need. training dollars, education dollars. things that can help lift communities out of some of the situations they find themselves in today. so, all in all, i think we had an excellent meeting. let me just be clear, thomas, we have disagreements with many presidents, not just this one. and it is important to us to fight for the people we're representing. so, we're fighting for our people every day.

    >> that's what i was going to say. you are elected.

    >> that's right.

    >> let me ask you about this, with the supreme court striking down provision in the voting rights act , did that come up? did he offer suggestions for how to ensure that ruling doesn't set back minority voting in states?

    >> the topic did coming up. we discussed it at length. it wasn't so much the president offering suggestions. it was the black caucus offering suggestions as to what we think can be done through the justice department , what we think can done through congress, because if you understand the ruling, the supreme court basically put the ball back in the court of congress. so, we are talking about how we can make the necessary changes so that we can once again enforce sections 4 and 5 of the voting rights act . we also talked about section 2 and 3. we talked about what the justice department can do. there are many things we believe are achievable in the near future. so, it was more us coming up with suggestions than the president.

    >> congresswoman marcia fudge, great having you here.


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