Authors: Green For All
Energy, Enèji, Energía are the only words to describe the shared feeling at the Town Hall meeting hosted in Miami on Monday, August 22nd, by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). This event was a part of the CBC's For the People Jobs Initiative and nationwide tour, with the stated goal of getting 10,000 people hired.
Standing in front of the crowd in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Miami, the Rev. Jesse Jackson asked how many in attendance knew someone who needed a job. Or knew someone facing foreclosure? Burdened with student loans? In jail?
With each question scores of people stood up, until Rev. Jackson declared, "This is a state of emergency."
This is a state of emergency.
This town hall gathering in Miami was organized by the Congressional Black Caucus to address African-American unemployment rates, currently at 16.8 percent nationwide, more than double that for whites. This figure does not include those that have given up and stopped looking for work.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo), Chairman of the CBC, said that representatives are frustrated by a Congress unwilling to advance bills intended to foster job growth. Members of the CBC have introduced more than 40 such bills since January, with none of them passing.
Despite the common frustrations of both the representatives and those attending the meeting, there was a feeling of hope in the room as congressional leaders fielded questions from the crowd about what they've done to create jobs, reduce unemployment, and push for another stimulus.
"I have a good feeling," said Jaron Taylor, an 18-year-old Miami resident. "The energy in this room is something. There's a good vibe. People are addressing the issue. They are making sure something will be done."