NAACP Pushes Obama To Focus On Unemployment

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From the NY Times:

With unemployment among blacks at more than 15 percent, the N.A.A.C.P. will join several other groups on Tuesday to call on President Obama to do more to create jobs.

The organizations — including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group— will make clear that they believe the president’s $787 billion stimulus program has not gone far enough to fight unemployment.

RELATED: College-Educated Blacks Hardest Hit By Unemployment

They will call for increased spending for schools and roads, billions of dollars in fiscal relief to state and local governments to forestall more layoffs and a direct government jobs program, “especially in distressed communities facing severe unemployment.”

In speaking out on jobs, N.A.A.C.P. leaders say they are not trying to pick a fight with the first African-American president. Rather, they say, they are pressing Mr. Obama in an area where they believe he wants to be pressured.

“It’s time for us to really stoke this issue up,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the N.A.A.C.P.’s senior vice president for advocacy and policy. “We’re not so much trying to convince him to do something he doesn’t want to do, but urging him to move forward on an issue we have agreement on.”

RELATED: Black Unemployment Hits 27.8% In Michigan

African-American leaders say it makes sense to pressure the president on jobs because the unemployment rate for blacks has jumped to 15.7 percent, from 8.9 percent when the recession started 23 months ago. That compares with 13.1 percent for Hispanics and 9.5 percent for whites.

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