Reports of the recession ending do not mean that we're well on our way to recovery. Black and Latino workers know this well. In our communities, the economic crisis has hit hard, and it is unrelenting. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12.4% of Latinos and 16.1% of Blacks were unemployed in September, compared to 9.6% of the nation.
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has been working tirelessly with its network of community-based Affiliates, labor unions, and civil and human rights organizations, who believe it is within our power as a country to build a stronger, new economy that works for everyone. What we want is an economy where a child who goes to school in a rural area has the same chance of success as a child who goes to school in a middle-class suburb. An economy where workers in the tomato fields and those on Wall Street both earn enough to provide for their families. Where employers who play by the rules and provide decent wages, health care, and retirement plans to their employees have an edge over those who do not. Where owning and keeping a home is within reach for most families. Where a student who was brought to the United States as a child has a chance to contribute to this country -- the only country she calls home.
Although Congress and the administration have taken steps toward getting America back on its feet, more must be done to create jobs where they are needed most. We must build an economy that reflects our American values: hard work, fairness, and the sense of a shared destiny.
Recognizing that building a new economy won't happen without strong leadership and a collective will, NCLR has partnered with dozens of national and local organizations to increase voter registration in the communities that they serve. More than 17 million Latinos are eligible to vote. NCLR encourages Latinos -- and all eligible voters -- to make their voices heard on November 2 at the polls.
Now, more than ever, it is important to elect decisive leaders who will move smart policies forward and advance inclusive solutions that overcome the challenges we face as a nation. On Election Day, we will tell our elected officials that we want a new economy that works for everyone -- and we expect them to fight for it.
Cross posted at www.nclr.org/blog