Saturday, May 2, 2015


It's time to help young people like this!
       The number of unemployed urban African American young people has reached epic proportions. The problem cannot be solved over night, but there are practical steps that could be taken immediately.
        I mentioned two obvious ones in my previous article: Congress should pass the American Jobs Acts and the Infrastructure bill, which together would put millions of Americans back to work. See GET WITH IT, CONGRESS! They should also pass the minimum wage act for the sake of the working poor.
        In addition, I would propose that every employer of any size in every city or town with a serious unemployment problem hire at least one unemployed African American within the next few days. This would include corporations, small businesses, schools, hospitals, churches, service agencies —every employer!  The mayor of each city should appoint a task force to promote the effort, to enlist the participants, and to coordinate and oversee the program, which would have to include a training element to provide applicants with the needed skills. There has to be an intentionality about such an effort, building upon the civic mindedness and humanitarian instincts of the entire community. What if every city across America would engage in such a program? Imagine the effect!

Friday, May 1, 2015


Trouble in Charm City following the death of Freddie Gray
        As our entire nation focuses on the unfolding events in Baltimore, following the death of Freddie Gray, the 25year old African American who died of spinal cord injuries while in custody of the police, and in the wake of all the other recent incidents of police brutality toward black males, there is much talk about the need for drastic revisions to our justice system.
        I certainly applaud that long-overdue conversation, which hopefully will result in Congress’ addressing a problem that has existed for far too long, not just in Baltimore but throughout urban America.
        At the same time I am frustrated by the relative lack of attention to the underlying problems of poverty and unemployment that fan the flames of frustration and despair among those trapped in the black ghettos of urban America. Their unemployment rate is far above the nation’s average, forcing many young African Americans to engage in drug trafficking just to survive. Racial profiling and the disproportionate incarceration rate of blacks and other minorities are alarming signals that have been ignored for too long.
        I fault the Republicans in Congress for blocking legislative proposals by the Obama administration, such as the American Jobs Act, the Public Transportation Act, and the Infrastructure bill, that would put millions of Americans back to work and give their lives new hope and purpose, while dealing with our dangerously deteriorating bridges, highways, and rail systems.
       The immediate passage of those legislative proposals would be a huge step toward meeting a desperate need. Why are concerned Americans not addressing their anger at Congress? We should demand that they act  now! Correcting our criminal justice system is important, but dealing with poverty and  unemployment is even  more important. Write your district Representative, your Senators, your local newspaper editor!
        Get with it, Congress! Redeem yourselves, and do what is right. The ball is in your court!