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NAACP Demands Strong Action to Reduce Unemployment and Underemployment Among African Americans

WHEREAS, the unemployment rate for African American workers has, on average, been approximately double that of white workers for nearly 50 years; and

WHEREAS, African American workers will endure longer and more frequent periods of unemployment than white workers in their lifetimes; and

WHEREAS, attacks on union membership and the expansion of right-to-work laws have made it harder for workers to secure long term work and a good living wage, which has disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic minorities, including African American workers; and

WHEREAS, public employment at the federal, state, and local levels continues to decline and has a disproportionate negative impact on African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; and

WHEREAS, as America moves further from its industrial past, it is critical that training programs and education opportunities be provided so workers are prepared to meet the needs of the emerging positions which are taking the place of occupations that are disappearing; and

WHEREAS, many of the occupations which are expanding in today's economy are in fields with a smaller African American or Latino share of the workforce, particularly in higher wage positions, including science technology, engineering, and math (the STEM fields) as well as healthcare, law, and finance; and

WHEREAS, bridging the gap in unemployment and underemployment must be a concerted effort by all branches and divisions of government and employers. Regardless of the effort expended in the past, there has been little or no progress in this regard; and

WHEREAS, despite the fact that throughout the 1970's and 1980's the NAACP passed resolutions supporting employment measures such as the Humphrey­ Hawkins Full Employment Act and the American Jobs Act in 2010 unemployment rates among African Americans, and especially young African American men, remains unacceptably, disproportionately high; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the persistent unemployment and underemployment of African Americans, 27.6 percent of African-Americans live in poverty. The African American child poverty figures are particularly disturbing: 38.8 percent of children under age 18 and 42.7 percent of children under age 5 live below the poverty line.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP demands the expansion and effective enforcement of successful anti-discrimination programs and agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) and other such agencies, which oversees diversity in financial regulation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP supports low wage workers advocating for a living wage and the recognition of their collective bargaining rights where it is shown to reduce both the wage and employment gap; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP supports strong action by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and policymakers to enact policies that will lead to full employment for African American, Latino, and Native American workers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP calls for the return of public sector employment at the local, state, and federal level which is a traditional source of well-paid work; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP continues to support and calls on Congress to pass the yet to be enacted components of President Obama's 2011 American Jobs Act including full funding of the job creation provisions, which would result in an additional 500,000 new public sector jobs and 500,000 new private sector jobs. This also includes $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses; invest $25 billion in school infrastructure to modernize at least 35,000 public schools, with the funds targeted at the lowest income districts; and invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 public school teachers, while hiring tens of thousands more teachers and keeping first responders, such as cops and firefighters on the job; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOVED that the NAACP calls on each public education system to graduate every enrolled student to the extent that he/she is ready for gainful employment or further technical or professional study.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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