In his weekly address to the nation, Obama promised:
Congress has passed my economic recovery plan – an ambitious plan at a time we badly need it. It will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, ignite spending by business and consumers alike, and lay a new foundation for our lasting economic growth and prosperity.
It remains an open question whether African Americans will have an equitable share of the economic growth and prosperity.
During a conference call with reporters, Alvin Reed of the St. Louis American asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about minority participation in the recovery plan. LaHood’s initial response:
That’s a point I have really not considered. We’ll have to get back to (him) rather than give an answer I don’t really know.
We do know that African Americans have been living with double-digit unemployment since 2002. African American businesses were left behind in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. And unless existing procurement laws are enforced they will be shut out -- again.
Indeed, that was the subject of a lively discussion on Imhotep Gary Byrd’s radio program, “Express Yourself.” Byrd and his guests expressed concern about whether jobs and contracting opportunities will be created in communities with high levels of unemployment. To ensure fairness, Byrd said:
We have to be part of the lobbying effort.
Byrd’s advice was echoed by Herb Boyd, National Editor of The Black World Today:
We have to be lobbyists ourselves.
Milton Allimadi, Publisher and Editor-in chief of Black Star News, cut to the chase:
We must make sure we get our piece of the stimulus package… If we don’t lobby, very likely we won’t get anything.
In the age of transparency and accountability, “lobbyist” is a four-letter word.
A coalition of African American entrepreneurs, advocates and concerned citizens is organizing and mobilizing to make sure black folks get a fair and equitable share of the economic recovery plan.
To get involved in this DIY citizen-powered accountability initiative, send an email here.
For more info, please visit Tracking Change.