FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
United for a Fair Economy applauds action by Congressional Black Caucus to stand up for working families
Boston, MA – November 23, 2009 – "With so much of the economic recovery legislation focused on the financial services industry and Wall Street, it's a welcome breath of fresh air to see someone stand up for the needs of Main Street and working families – including people of color – who are all trying to find decent work and hold onto their homes," states Brian Miller, Executive Director of United for a Fair Economy (UFE). "We applaud the Congressional Black Caucus for insisting that the financial regulation bill be accompanied by real action to meet the needs of working families."
Amaad Rivera, Director of UFE's Racial Wealth Divide project adds, "The Congressional Black Caucus is showing real leadership in ensuring that our government addresses the pressing issues of unemployment and economic recovery, with focused attention on people of color and other hard-working families across the country."
UFE notes that while Wall Street bankers and their CEOs have benefitted from the largesse of federal bailouts, the unemployment rate in October reached a staggering 10.2%. Communities of color are feeling the brunt of the recession with unemployment rates hitting 15.7% for African Americans and 13.1% for Hispanics.
Each year on Martin Luther King Day, UFE issues a report, entitled "State of the Dream," that explores the racial disparities of income and wealth, and recommends policy solutions to address those disparities. This report has documented the racial economic disparities that continue to plague this country, starting well before this current economic downturn, now made worse by the recent foreclosure crisis and the predatory lending that preceded it.
"While Americans across the country are struggling to earn a decent wage, people of color have been particularly hard-pressed, earning only 67 cents of income for every dollar earned in Whites households," adds Rivera.
Income aside, most notable are the disparities of wealth outlined in the UFE report. For every dollar of net worth held by white households, African American households on average have only 10 cents, and Latino households have 15 cents. Given that home equity is the single most important form of wealth in communities of color, the current foreclosure crisis is fueling the largest loss of wealth for communities of color in modern history.
The Congressional Black Caucus asserts that prioritizing homeownership and jobs will help all working families, including people of color. "It's time Congress got its priorities straight. What we are getting from Washington is a GDP and Dow Jones policy. What we need is a putting-people-to-work and homeownership policy," states Miller.
The actions of the Congressional Black Caucus last week showed their support for struggling families and people of color. They called for an open legislative process that creates an economic recovery for all Americans.
UFE's State of the Dream report series, which explores racial disparities in wealth and income, as well as the role of predatory lending in communities of color, can be downloaded at http://files.faireconomy.org/issues/racial_wealth_divide.
This press release can also be viewed on CommonDreams.org.