NEW YORK - The following is an open letter from The National Urban League:
The holiday season is a time when we pause to remember those who are struggling – and lately, there are more and more of us. Double-digit unemployment rates had been a reality for urban communities -- which also tend to be communities of color -- since August 2008 for African Americans and February 2009 for Latinos. In fact, African-American unemployment had been at or near 10% since December 2001. Last year, the African-American unemployment rate was on average 1.8 times higher than that of whites, African-American median household income was 62% of that earned by white households and African Americans were more than three times as likely as whites to live below the poverty line.
Without jobs, families are more likely to lack health insurance and access to affordable health care, educational opportunities are limited, and the possibility of achieving the dream of homeownership grows further and further out of reach.
The National Urban League has led the civil rights community in advocating for federal policies that create jobs, provide job training and give everyone equal access to the economic mainstream. Through our interactive social mobilization platform at www.iamempowered.com, we’re connecting people with jobs and helping them find the training they need to compete in the 21st Century economy. Entrepreneurship centers at affiliates around the country provides management counseling and training to help minority entrepreneurs to generate and maintain new business opportunities. And our Urban Youth Empowerment Program prepares young people, ages 18-24, for entry into the world of work through community service, mentorship, internships, occupational skills training, and other paths to personal development.
This year, the National Urban League will redouble our efforts with a renewed focus on jobs and job creation. You can help with a contribution to support our efforts and bring us closer to our goal of giving every American access to good jobs with good benefits – and forging a path to economic empowerment.
May the New Year bring you health and happiness!
Your friends at the National Urban League