Washington, D.C. — Representatives from the Center for American Progress Action Fund and leading organizations advocating on behalf of communities of color testified today before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the experiences and unique challenges communities of color continue to face in this economy.
The panelists included Dr. Christian E. Weller, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, or CAP Action; Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, NCLR; Marc Morial, President and CEO for the National Urban League, or NUL; and Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director for the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, or National CAPACD.
A joint statement by CAP Action, NCLR, NUL, and National CAPACD outlined the problem:
“As the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform considers testimony on how minorities have been impacted in the Great Recession, the hard facts make it clear that unemployment, loss of income, foreclosures, and wage disparities continue to disproportionately affect communities of color.
“The message to Congress and our nation is clear: A full economic recovery is impossible without putting attention and resources to help resolve the challenges these communities face—including poverty, wage disparities, and the lack of employment opportunities.”
Dr. Christian E. Weller, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, argued in his testimony that policymakers need to pay more attention to the issue:
“…Policymakers must do more than simply hope that minorities rise alongside whites in the coming years. For the benefit of minorities and the overall economy, a prosperous expansion should include all Americans and ensure everyone reaps the benefits equitably.”
For his part Marc H. Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League, stated that minorities continue to be left behind in the recession:
“Over the past year, our nation came face to face with a real enemy—an almost unprecedented economic crisis of the likes the nation has not seen in more than half a century. Our economy has a certain elasticity built into it that gives many people the room they need to survive tough times. Unfortunately, because of decades of economic, educational, and social disparities, many African Americans do not have the benefit of that elasticity.
“In plain language, there is no more ‘give to give’ and many in our communities across the country are at the breaking point and face desperate circumstances if we do not take swift and certain action now.”
Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, said that “We won’t be able to get our economy back on track until we get the hardest-hit families in a position to secure sustainable jobs and mortgages. It’s that simple.”
And Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, remarked on the need for cooperation to solve the problem:
“We need to work together to ensure that communities of color do not disproportionately bear the burden of the economic downturn. We need to mobilize the strengths of community-based organizations to deploy federal employment, small business, education and housing resources, and programs in underserved communities of color.”