Social Unrest Highlights Opportunity for Change, Dialogue about Organizing Black Workers

by Community Change | May 1, 2015 2:58 pm

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 1, 2015
Contact: Donna De La Cruz, [email protected] (202) 339-9331

 Deepak Bhargava Joins Important Conversation on Good Jobs in Communities of Color

(NEW YORK)—Center for Community Change Executive Director Deepak Bhargava joined civil rights leaders, key political figures, community organizers, policy experts and media icons Friday in an important conversation about jobs, black workers and racial and economic justice for the State of the Black Workers in America Conference at Columbia University.

The recent unrest in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray who died while in police custody has drawn needed attention to the lack of good jobs for black communities in the city. Baltimore is just the latest example of how black communities nationwide are economically ravaged by jobs that pay low wages, the lack of job opportunities and discrimination at work.

Speakers and panelist attending today’s conference, organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, discussed the urgent need to stop this economic devastation by spurring black workers to organize for more job opportunities that pay living wages.

“Organizing black workers is not just a strategy for addressing the black jobs crisis; it is crucial to building a strong progressive movement,” said Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, Co-Director at Building Movement Project and panelist at the event. “Black worker organizing offers the opportunity to impact the economic, racial, and political systems in this country because the struggles of black workers lie at the intersection of all those forces.”

Among the panelists were Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change (CCC). CCC, along with dozens of organizations across the country, has committed to taking bold action to eliminate economic inequality through its “Putting Families First: Good Jobs for All” campaign to bring jobs, good jobs, to everyone. The campaign, launched Wednesday in Washington, D.C., will focus on reinvesting in low-income communities of color with a goals of winning breakthrough changes in the rules of our economy and setting the terms of the economic debate in the 2016 election cycle.

“Race and gender are fundamental to how our economy and labor market function,” Bhargava said during Wednesday’s campaign launch event. “One cannot understand or solve the highly racialized patterns of unemployment, occupational segregation, or disparities in wages and wealth without addressing generations of disinvestment from African-American and Latino communities, or the persistence of racial discrimination on the job.”

“We cannot end systemic gender and race inequality without setting out to end gender and race discrimination,” Bhargava added.

Much of the discussion centered around the #BlackWorkersMatter report that shares new analysis of the black jobs crisis and focuses attention on organizing black workers. For more information on the #BlackWorkersMatter report go to http://www.discountfoundation.org/blackworkersmatter.

For more information on the Putting Families First: Good Jobs for all, go to putfamiliesfirst.org.

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Community Change builds the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better. Community Change empowers the people most affected by injustice to lead movements to improve policies that affect their lives. For more information go to www.communitychange.org and follow us on Twitter @communitychange

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