(L to R) Reps. Andre Carson, Hank Johnson, Laura Richardson, Barbara Lee, Hanson Clarke, Maxine Waters, Emanuel Cleaver, John Conyers, Cedric Richmond, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rev Jesse Jackson, Karen Bass, and Al Green (PHOTO CREDITS: MALCOLM ALI)
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, along with Rev. Jesse Jackson convened a town hall meeting to support and help the community find jobs.
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
On August 30, at 6:00pm, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) gathered at the Crenshaw Christian Center (CCC) for a town hall meeting with the community convening their "For the People" Jobs Initiative and supporting the landmark job fair, which took place Wednesday, August 31 at CCC. Congresswoman Maxine Waters hosted the event along with fellow co-hosts Congresswomen, Laura Richardson and Karen Bass. The CBC had high hopes for the job fair, which brought out over 100 employers with job offers.
Other distinguished members of the CBC were on the panel included it chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver; Reps. John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Andre Carson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Hank Johnson, Cedric Richmond, Al Green and Hanson Clarke. Also on the panel was Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Opening the meeting was Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel who introduced the evening's host Rep. Waters, who said, "You're here this evening because you want to know what's going on in Washington; you're here this evening because you know it's time to speak a little truth to power; you're here this evening because you want to know what are we going to do about this job unemployment situation... I am hopeful that you will leave here this evening inspired, full of hope for the future, and understanding you got the folks who will represent you in Washington." Then she introduced the chairman.
Bringing the same message that he did in the previous townhall meetings, Chairman Cleaver said, "We left the complaint counter in Washington and that's why we're on this tour." He wanted to make it crystal clear that this tour is not about anything other than promoting employment. "We're not going around the country to make enemies, we're going around the country to make a difference. There is excruciating pain in the Black communities, the Latino communities and to a real sense, the entire nation. People are hurting and we are a nation that cannot back away from trying to help," he stated.
The CBC's visit to Los Angeles saw a huge turnout of elected officials, organizations, community leaders and the community. The topic was jobs and the lack thereof, which continues to lacerate the Black community. The CBC discussed job legislation and the effort to stimulate economic growth within the country.
One after the other, each member gave a brief description of the dire need for the jobs initiative, their congressional assignment and the reason why they do what they do. They also introduced other elected officials who were present as guests in the audience.
The job initiative trek saw the CBC visit multiple cities such Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles encouraging and building hopes in finding employment. The meetings have seen thousands gather for the town hall meetings, job fairs, workshops and seminars. The visit to Los Angeles was no different and was welcomed.
"We're here to stay and we're here to help," said Richardson. The congresswoman spoke on how the old method of "hitting the streets" and meeting the people is sometimes the best way to affect a change.
"I'm particularly excited because this is one of my rare opportunities to take a step back and look at how the CBC started 40 years ago," said Richardson.
"This reinforces the caucus as the conscious of the Congress and Maxine Waters as the conscience of the conscience of the Congress. We're delighted to be hosting here at the Crenshaw Christian Center," said Jackson Lee. "Congresswoman Waters... Bass... and Richardson have put together tonight a dynamic expression of the need to be active, not through words, but through deeds."
Rep. Jackson Lee stated that the CBC's goal is two-fold and they intend on carrying out a tough battle on the road ahead. "It is our pledge, that when we come, we will leave you with something, but we will also go back and fight for something," said Jackson Lee.
"This isn't just a show or entertainment, or a rhetorical exercise, we have to impact the economy in a way that creates jobs," said Conyers. "The Congressional Black Caucus' position is the president has to come out... and take up the cause of full employment as opposed to arguing and a useless battle... with conservatives about the debt limit and the deficit."
The CBC unanimously co-sponsored and introduced the Congressional Black Caucus "For the People" Jobs Initiative Resolution (H. Res. 348) last month. The goal was to urge the House of Representatives to think about passing critical jobs legislation to address the unemployment crisis in America. Members of the CBC have introduced over 40 job creation bills since the beginning of the 112th Congress as a result.
"A wheelbarrow will never move unless it is pushed and that is the same way with this economy," said Cleaver. "If we don't push the economy, if we don't do some thing to ignite the economy, it's not going to go anywhere."
For more information on or about the "For the People" Jobs Initiative, please visit the CBC website.