Blacks Still Face Challenges in Economic Equality

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On average, African-Americans enjoy 71.7 percent, or fewer than three-fourths, of the benefits and privileges that are offered to white Americans. These include education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement.

The report derives its numbers from an “equality index” that is based on nationally collected data from agencies including the Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics and Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 300 statistics were used in the index and 140 were weighed in the calculation. Because so many various statistics are used in the index, improvements in certain areas are sometimes offset by losses in others, resulting in gradations of change in the overall percentages.

The National Urban League has launched a $70 million initiative, “Jobs Rebuild America,” to help get unemployed African-Americans back to work. The public-private partnership creating and expanding some the group’s programs in job training, education, finance, career counseling, entrepreneurship and youth mentoring in about 30 cities. They are also pushing bills to promote employment opportunities for at-risk teens and young adults.

“This is really emphasis on saying that the nation does not have to throw up its hands in the face of this unemployment crisis and this severe unemployment crisis in black America,” said Urban League CEO Marc Morial. “There are things that we can do to leverage public and private support to build partnerships to put Americans back to work, and that’s why we’re doing this.”

The report features essays by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Capehart, Dr. Gail Christopher of the Kellogg Foundation, civil rights figure Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Marcia Fudge, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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