Congressional Black Congress Takes on Black Unemployment & HIV/AIDS

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CBC Weekend to Focus on Black Unemployment, AIDS

By Boyce Watkins, PhD on Sep 11th 2010 2:07PM

The Congressional Black Caucus plans to attack the joblessness situation in black America at its legislative convention next week. The convention is set to be held from September 15 – 18 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The goal of the organization is to have several sessions discussing the link between education and employment.

“So many people will never return to the jobs they lost,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) told the National Newspaper Publishers Association. “It’s our responsibility to increase their ability to do the jobs that are available to them.”

One of the key objectives of the sessions will be to alert members of the audience of federal jobs that are now available. They also plan to explain Obama’s new health care plan. The information will be administered with helpful discussions on AIDS awareness in the black community, which is a growing problem every year. In fact, they plan to distribute notes on Obama’s plan to help the black community gain an understanding of the new policies.

Black unemployment has become an ever greater concern through time, as African Americans recently watched the black unemployment rate skyrocket to 16.3 percent. White Americans face a relatively meager unemployment rate of 8.7 percent. Most ironic is that other Americans are demanding that their legislators do something about their rate of joblessness, which seems to argue that black folks should be screaming from the rooftops.

Well, screaming from the rooftops is the job of the CBC. The nature of the convention sessions is a good one, and the CBC’s efforts are certainly appreciated. Teaching African Americans about the availability of government jobs and resources is a critical component of our getting a piece of the economic pie of America. Most of us are not only unaware of what federal contracts are out there, we don’t have a clue on how to get them.

An added component to the efforts of the CBC should probably include sessions on entrepreneurship and the creation of black businesses. We should go beyond simply teaching black folks how to increase our dependence on government support, and I am sure that most CBC members would agree with that assessment. We should also teach our community how to create the institutions that provide jobs in the private sector. Part of the reason that whites have a lower unemployment rate is because they own most of the businesses that are doing all the hiring. Much of this is due to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, which kept African Americans out of the historical wealth-generating pool.

The CBC Legislative Convention is set to be as remarkable this year as it is every year. We should all be in attendance if we can make it.


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