“We’ve had it,” said Michigan Democrat John Conyers, at a recent press conference about the jobs crisis facing black Americans. The line was a warning to President Obama after multiple meetings the Congressional Black Caucus has had with the president have done little to make a dent in the 16.2 percent black unemployment rate.
The CBC is taking matters into its own hands now, by creating the “For The People” jobs initiative that includes a multi-city job fair. The fair kicked off with a stop in Cleveland on Monday, and will be followed by events in Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles.
More than 3,000 people were lined up even before the Cleveland jobs fair opened at 9 a.m., and Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge, whose staff organized the fair, lamented, “It’s kind of a double edged sword. I’m excited about all of the people who’ve come out to try to find work but I’m also on the other side of it, almost depressed about the number of people who have come out.”
The CBC also plans to hold town hall meetings in areas with high rates of black unemployment, introduce job creation legislation (perhaps they’ll look into some of the ideas we’ve reported on), and create a report on black joblessness.
President Obama won’t be joining the CBC in its initiative, but he will be starting a “listening tour” focused specifically on joblessness.
Meanwhile, the caucus is calling on employers. “We want to get 10,000 people hired,” said Chairman Emanuel Cleaver in a statement. “If you have jobs we have thousands of people who need them.”