Detroit demands action on jobs

Over 5,000 jobseekers showed up at the Wayne County Community College in Detroit for a jobs fair and town hall meeting yesterday. More than 7,000 attended last week’s event in Cleveland, the second stop on the Congressional Black Caucus’s “For the People” tour.

Over 1,000 positions were offered at the fair.

The event was hosted by Democratic U.S. Reps. John Conyers and Hansen Clarke. Also present from the caucus were Maxine Waters of California, Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and Gregory Meeks from New York.

President Obama, himself on a rural bus tour in the Midwest, announced he would give a major speech on jobs and the economy after Labor Day.

According to the Associated Press, “The president’s plan is likely to contain tax cuts, jobs-boosting infrastructure ideas and steps that would specifically help the long-term unemployed. The official emphasized that all of Obama’s proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, including his ‘infrastructure bank’ idea to finance construction jobs.”

The New York Times again pressed the Obama administration to offer bold new jobs creation proposals, the second time in as many days. President Obama, says the Times, “needs to come up with policies big enough to match his new found anger – and big enough to get the economy growing again.”

In recent speeches, the president has sharply criticized the Republicans for putting politics over country.

Detroit residents at the town hall meeting, however, facing 50 percent unemployment rates, felt the president and Congress could do more. According to, “During the sometimes heated town hall, people’s frustration over their economic conditions overwhelmed decorum and order.”

Rep. Maxine Waters, noting the great love and admiration for President Obama in the African American community, called on the audience to “unleash us” to address the president on the jobs issue. “When you tell us it’s alright and you unleash us and you tell us you’re ready for us to have this conversation, we’re ready to have the conversation. The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president too. We’re supportive of the president but we’re getting tired ya’ll…” she said.

Rep. John Conyers called for a demonstration in front of the White House, reports “We should be in front, three to five, six thousand people the day before we open our 40th conference on Tuesday, September the 20th, in front of the White House, demanding jobs,” Conyers said.

Tuesday’s event in Detroit coincided with a parallel forum organized by the Progressive Caucus in Oakland, Calif.

The Oakland event too had a militant character. “The session, organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was at times raucous, with some heckling or angrily chanting that it is time to ‘tax the rich.'”

The Black Caucus events now go on to Atlanta, August 18-19; Miami, August 22-23; and Los Angeles, August 30-31.

Photo: Congressional Black Caucus


Joe Sims
Joe Sims

Joe Sims is co-editor of the People's World, and loves biking.