“In Unity There is Strength” - Aesop’s Fable
Standing with National Action Network President, Rev. Al Sharpton; NAACP President, Ben Jealous; National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President, Melanie Campbell and others, we called for swift action on a number of recommendations geared to leveling the playing field and giving a hand up to the thousands of urban Americans who are being left behind by the nation’s economic recovery. While each of us in the meeting has made our individual voices heard, we believe our unity gives us greater strength.
This was our second meeting. When we gathered in Washington a little over a month ago, we urged our nation’s leaders to commit to economic and educational parity as well as voting rights protections, and criminal justice reforms to strengthen America and improve the lives of the millions of working and middle class citizens we see and serve every day. On Friday, we presented our preliminary recommendations on how best to achieve those goals.
Finally, we call for reforms of the nation’s dysfunctional and discriminatory criminal justice system. As NAACP President Ben Jealous noted, “Study after study has shown that students of color face harsher punishments in school than their White peers, African-American students are arrested far more often than their White classmates, and African-American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison. One in 13 African Americans of voting age is disenfranchised because of a prior criminal conviction. That’s a staggering statistic that reveals the desperate need for reform.”
We urge the president to address the urban jobs crisis in his upcoming State of the Union address and we call on the leaders in Washington to make economic and educational parity a top priority this year.
Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League.