February 19 2010




Feb 19, 2010

Maggie Kao, 202.466.2735


Press Conference Call Audio Recording:


Civil Rights Coalition Urges Congressional Leadership to Act Swiftly on Debilitating Jobs Crisis
Twenty-Five Civil Rights Organizations and Economists Issue Bold Proposal for Alleviating Jobs Crisis to House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid

Washington, D.C. – Today, civil rights leaders and economists from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the AFL-CIO, the Center for Community Change, the Economic Policy Institute, the NAACP, and the National Council of La Raza held a press conference call to outline their proposal to Congress for legislation to mitigate the jobs crisis facing millions of Americans.

The proposed actions will provide immediate relief to people who are out of work and will lay the foundation for a broad-based economic recovery that benefits all Americans.

The recommendations, which include the extension of emergency Unemployment Insurance and COBRA benefits, the creation of public sector jobs, fiscal support for States and local governments, investment in school and public transit, and the prevention of foreclosures, were detailed in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today (original text of the letter here).


During the press conference call, leaders from the civil rights community issued the following statements:

Across our country, high and lingering unemployment – particularly among young workers, low-income workers and workers of color – are straining families to the breaking point and decimating whole communities. While our economy is no longer on the brink of collapse, it should be obvious to everyone that the pace of the recovery is not generating jobs fast enough to sustain our growing workforce. That’s why it’s now a moral imperative for Congress and the Obama Administration to take bold, meaningful action to ensure that our nation’s working families survive this crisis and to create jobs now that put us on a sound foundation for future prosperity.” – Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Those disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis must receive assistance proportionate to their real needs. The diversity of American communities clearly dictates that one size does not fit all. We have to rebuild Main Street and rescue back street. We can't just go back to the economy of three to four years ago when African Americans suffered perennial unemployment rates that were consistently twice that of whites. We have to do more to rebuild the economy for everyone to have access to the American dream. We have to challenge those in Congress who insist on saying no to everything. Over 50 years ago, then- segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace stood in front of the school house doors to stop the integration of the University of Alabama. Now we have primarily Republicans standing in the door to oppose jobs bills to bring employment to millions of Americans, refusing to support extending unemployment insurance to help people cope with this unprecedented crisis – saying no, no, no when people are suffering, suffering.” – Ben Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP “

We are calling for the government to create jobs for Latinos, but the policies enacted so far have not done enough to help these workers. As unemployment continues to rise, a crisis of confidence is brewing in our communities. Lawmakers must show us that they are listening to Latino workers and have a targeted plan to create jobs in the hardest-hit communities.” – Janet Murgía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza “

The jobs crisis is the greatest challenge our nation is facing. Working families have not just lost their pay checks, but also their benefits and even their homes. America's workers are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters in the civil and human rights communities to solve this problem. We need 10 million jobs and Wall Street should pay the bill because their abusive practices caused this financial collapse.” – Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO “

Congress must act boldly and do more to promote job growth after neglecting America’s workers for the last 20 years. Without a community jobs program to boost employment quickly, high unemployment rates will continue to weigh down economic growth, continue to ravage lower- and middle-class Americans' earnings, and continue to incur long-lasting damage on our economy.” – Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change “

Without aggressive action to create jobs, high unemployment will persist for years. It will likely be higher in the fall than it is now. And it could still be hovering around 8percent by the end of 2011. To put that in perspective, we never saw unemployment as high as 8percent in either of the last two recessions. This is a human disaster that we can and must prevent.” – Larry Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute



Issues: Economy and Workforce