Jobs, justice and peace. Have three themes ever been so intimately intertwined since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., championed this tri-partite campaign in his 1967 March on Washington?
Unemployment is ravaging the country, especially among urban minorities. Yet Congress has yet to put forward a comprehensive jobs plan to create employment. We’re still fighting two wars and garrisoning troops in Europe and Japan as the jobless rate soars at home. Debt reduction is still a priority over job creation.
The current economic downturn has put the brakes on economic progress for most of the American working class. They shared in widespread growth during the 1990s, but have been falling behind during the latest recession.
The pain has been uneven and most punishing in the inner city and among the young. For white men and women, the jobless rate for those 20 years and older was around 8 percent as of July. For white teenagers (age 16 to 19), the rate was 23 percent.
Unemployment for African-American adults is twice as high as white adults at 16 percent. For African-American teenagers, the rate soars to nearly 40 percent.