As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address, economic inequality has reached an epic height in our nation, shutting the doors of opportunity for millions of Americans. In urban centers, we see this growing inequality through gentrification. Too often the “development” of urban centers means the displacement of low and moderate-income long-time residents and new housing and amenities for the rich. A first step in ending the growing economic inequality, which is deeply tied to ongoing racial inequality, is to stop this displacement.
The corrosive effect of gentrification can be found throughout the nation even in the “liberal” whitest city of America Portland, Oregon. Portland is known internationally as a leader in urban design with many boasting its bike-friendly streets, accessible 20-minute neighborhoods and quaint local business culture. In fact, this year, Portland was named the best US city by the real estate company, Movato.
Unbeknownst to many, however, Portland is also a case study in gentrification, a glaring reminder that urban economic disparities will persist as long as the structural inequalities of our economy remain.
Despite reports that the U.S. economy is bouncing back, times remain tough for the average American — especially those among the long-term unemployed. Nearly 1.3 million Americans saw their unemployment insurance terminated last year and over the next year, 4.9 million unemployed Americans will get fewer benefits.
President Obama has called income inequality the defining challenge of our time. At the end of 2012, the top 1 percent owned 50.4 percent of the total wealth in the country, a level that even surpasses that of 1928, when the roaring 20s stock bubble was at its peak. It’s no surprise that many of us continue to tighten our purse strings – a recent Bankrate.com survey showed that 38 percent of Americans even cut back on holiday spending last year.
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In this sluggish economic recovery, the banking industry can serve as a solid job creator (generating 1 million jobs over the next decade) and wealth builder in communities of color. The trend of growing racial economic inequality paired with our country rapidly becoming majority minority posses a great threat to our nation’s economic future. Greater economic inclusion in the leading sectors of the economy is a must and is why the NAACP is committed to working with them to advance greater racial equity.
The NAACP recently released a report, “Opportunity and Diversity Report Card: Consumer Banking Industry”, that highlights key areas where the banking industry can improve to ensure their workforce, leadership and suppliers adequately reflect the demographics of the United States.
By Roslyn M. Brock
When the U.S. Senate failed last December to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I was disappointed. But the opposition arguments were sadly familiar: loss of sovereignty, outside control, a hidden agenda – the language of suspicion and fear.
The NAACP was a strong and early supporter of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which became law 23 years ago and is the foundation for the convention. The new treaty, which President Obama signed in 2009, would hold up the ADA standards as a model for addressing the needs of people with disabilities in countries around the world.
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Posted in General
Tagged U.S. Senate
By Roslyn M. Brock and Regina Benjamin, MD
The havoc that HIV can wreak on a family and a community can be devastating. Over the past three decades, we have watched helplessly as friends and family members died from HIV-related illnesses. Each one lived life brimming with hope and energy, prepared to make tremendous contributions to society. Instead each was laid to rest. Their lives were taken by a preventable disease.
While no amount of advocacy can bring back the lives stolen by this epidemic, we have the power to change the tide of HIV in black America and eliminate the impact of this preventable disease in communities across the country. We have one goal in mind – zeros across the board. That means zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination for those infected.
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What if somebody told you he’d designed a machine that could transform children into criminals? If you think that’s a terrible invention, then you’re a lot saner than New York State’s justice system, which often does exactly that.
Shockingly, New York is one of only two states (the other is North Carolina) that prosecutes children as young as 16 as adults, virtually assuring that these kids will go on to commit serious crimes once they emerge from the harsh world of adult prisons. This barbaric state of affairs flies in the face of scientific research on human brain development and harms our kids and our communities. It’s time for New York to join the civilized world, treat kids like kids, and raise the age of criminal responsibility.
Posted in General
Tagged New York