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Chicago African American Community Slams High Black Unemployment Rate During Al Sharpton’s Town Hall Meeting



Al Sharpton attempted to steer a town hall discussion to talk of gun violence, but Chicagoans repelled that political ploy, focusing instead on the bigger picture of Employment.

Gun violence is often used as a scapegoat to the myriad of problems plaguing the Black community in Chicago. Toughening gun laws only provides more jobs to police officers and the judicial system.



The black community is calling for the city to address their community’s high unemployment rate and provide jobs. This, they said, would fix the poverty and the crime rate.

“More jobs are needed to stop the rash of gun violence. It is hard to be outside shooting and robbing people when you are at work or worried about losing your job,” said Harold Lucas, a 69-year-old community activist and president and CEO of the Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council, a nonprofit organization in Bronzeville, according to DNAinfo.com.

Chicago has one of the nation’s highest African American unemployment rates. In 2011, African American unemployment in Chicago ranked third highest in the country, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.

Huge disparities continue to exist between black and whites as it did pre-Civil Rights era.

The poverty rate amongst African Americans in Chicago stands at 34.1 percent, more than triple that of Whites, according to statistics compiled by Chicago Reader. For Whites, the poverty rate is 10.9 percent.

The unemployment rate for African Americans in Chicago is 19.5 percent, more than double that of Whites, which is 8.1 percent.



A panelist at the town hall meeting called for more jobs and business grants and loans for African Americans.

“…You can’t get a job, you can’t get a grant, you can’t get a contract til our community is suffering,” he said.

Paul McKinley, a 2013 Republican Nominee and representative for V.O.T.E. (Voices of the Ex-Offender), accused Mayor Rahm and city hall in having a hand in Black poverty.

“The fifth floor took your schools, the fifth floor took all your jobs that he said that he gave to the ex-offenders,” he said. “It’s the policies of the administration. And every single alderman was a part of this criminal process.”

In a controversial measure this year, mayor Rahm Emmanuel slashed education funds for Chicago Public Schools, which led to the closing of 54 schools.

It was the largest mass closing by a school district in U.S. history, according to Reuters.
“…Our people is suffering and being devastated. We have boarded up houses in every community,” Mckinley continued. “… it’s almost like the curse of Pharaoh, every other house is boarded up in our neighborhood. Why can’t we build it up?”

McKinley then took his grievances out on the President Barack Obama.

“My question is this, Mr. President. Cause I know he watches your (Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation) program. Mr. President, the man that you have sent down here as a mayor hate us,” he said. “We ask from the President of the United States, let us, the grass root people, not these name brand blue ribbon nigroes, take this. Stop giving them evil people our money.”

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