The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Poverty & Welfare

There has long been a close association between the struggle for civil rights and the fight against poverty in the United States. The drive to dismantle segregation and defeat discrimination has been centered on the need to open the gates of economic opportunity, mostly closed to minorities, women, and other by both governmental and private action. 

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Civil Rights and Progressive Organizations Call for Comprehensive Jobs Bill

February 19, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

A broad cross-section of the civil rights and progressive community, including The Leadership Conference, is calling on Congress to enact a jobs bill that will rescue millions of struggling Americans from job loss and foreclosure.


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Video: What the Federal Government Must Do to Tackle Unemployment

February 10, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Last week, the Jobs for America Now coalition, which includes The Leadership Conference, hosted an informative webinar examining the dire effects of the U.S. jobs crisis and the steps that must be taken to enable Americans to get back to work.


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Congress Must Act Now to Extend Unemployment, COBRA Benefits

January 21, 2010 - Posted by Ron Bigler

A deadline for Congress to renew an extension of benefits for the unemployed is fast approaching.  The current program – which provides federal funds to states for extended unemployment benefits and a subsidy that pays for 65 percent of workers' health insurance under COBRA – is scheduled to expire on February 28.


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Mic Check Radio Honors Dr. King with Podcast on Eradicating Poverty

January 18, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Today, the nation celebrates and honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mic Check Radio, a radio project produced by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, is running a special MLK Day podcast today, highlighting King's impact on current efforts to eradicate poverty, eliminate racial disparities, and create living-wage jobs for low-income and minority communities.

Listen to the podcast or download it for listening on your mp3 player. 

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Minority Unemployment Rates to Hit Record High This Year

January 15, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The unemployment rate for African Americans is set to soar to a 25-year high of 17.2 percent by the third quarter of this year, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute. The rate for Latinos is also expected to hit a record high of 13.9 percent this year.


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House Extends Benefits for the Unemployed; New Coalition Calls for Stronger Action

December 17, 2009 - Posted by Ron Bigler

The House on Wednesday passed another six-month extension of unemployment benefits and extended the COBRA health care subsidy that was set to expire at the end of December.

The COBRA benefit — created under the stimulus bill earlier this year — pays for 65 percent of a laid-off worker's cost of continuing coverage under an employer's health insurance plan. For many families, it is the only way they can continue to pay for coverage. According to Families USA, the average cost for family coverage under an employer COBRA plan was $1,111. The bill now moves on to the Senate.

The unemployment and COBRA insurance extensions are critical lifelines for millions of Americans trying to survive the worst recession since the Great Depression. But they are only stop-gap measures.

A broad coalition of 60 organizations, including The Leadership Conference, is calling on Congress to pass legislation now that will put millions of Americans back on the job.


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President Obama Sharpens Focus on Jobs, Relief for the Unemployed

December 9, 2009 - Posted by Ron Bigler

Calling the current jobs crisis affecting millions of Americans a "continuing human tragedy," President Obama this week outlined a series of steps intended to boost job growth and continue relief for the unemployed.

The plan includes expanding tax breaks and incentives to small businesses, increasing spending on infrastructure, and a new program of tax rebates for retrofitting homes for energy efficiency. The president also called for the extension of emergency benefits for the unemployed and support for local governments facing budget shortfalls and layoffs.

"We avoided the depression many feared," Obama said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. But, he stressed, "Our work is far from done." 


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Civil Rights Groups Seek Urgent Response to U.S. Jobs Crisis

November 18, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Wade Henderson

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, speaking on the jobs crisis at the Economic Policy Institute. November 2009.

Civil rights and progressive organizations, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the AFL-CIO, and the Center for Community Change, have joined the Economic Policy Institute in calling attention to the urgent need to address the current jobs crisis in light of new unemployment data released for October 2009

The national jobs crisis has become a major barrier to progress in our country. Without job security, families will continue to lose their homes and will stop saving for their own retirement or their children's education.  Job security is also essential because the decisions and sacrifices made by the families hit the hardest today will have lasting repercussions for years to come.  For example, young adults who must work to support their families instead of attending school will find themselves disadvantaged when competing for work in the future.


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Economy Track Shows How the Recession Hits Communities Differently

November 3, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

The economic hardships caused by current recession reach far and wide, but some communities are experiencing the negative effects of the recession more acutely than national averages reveal, according to data available through a new online tool from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.

EPI's new Economy Track website allows you to see how the recession affects different industries and states, and also people of different races, gender, and education level. 

For instance, though the overall U.S. unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, it is 15.4 percent for African Americans and 12.7 percent for Hispanics. And while the 9.6 percent unemployment for workers in service industries is near the national average, the situation for blue-collar workers – 15.3 percent unemployment – is even more dire.

You can find a broad range of comparative statistics on Economy Track –and all of the data is downloadable and updated on a regular basis.

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Half in Ten: Census Poverty Data Shows Urgent Need for Anti-Poverty Policies

October 13, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Women, children and minorities are bearing a disproportionate share of the rise in poverty and unemployment in America, according to a new analysis of census data by U.S. congressional district.

The Half in Ten Campaign analyzed the data in all 435 congressional districts and found that:

  • the child poverty rate is about 30 percent in 36 districts across 16 states;
  • the poverty rate for women is above the national average in more than half of the districts;
  • one in four African Americans live below the poverty level in nearly 200 districts; and
  • the poverty rate among Latinos is more than 25 percent in 145 districts.

In light of the findings, Half in Ten is urging Congress to extend unemployment insurance in all states to prevent those looking for a job from slipping into poverty.

"These data underscore the importance of setting national poverty-reduction goals such as cutting poverty in half in 10 years. While the economy was growing between 2001 and 2007, we saw the unprecedented trend of more Americans falling into poverty. Without a focused government effort and absent additional assistance, poverty rates will continue to rise as will disparities by race and gender," Melissa Boteach, manager of the Half in Ten Campaign. "As we rebuild our economy, we need to be intentional about doing so in a way that promotes shared prosperity and sets benchmarks to achieve significant poverty-reduction progress."

Find 2008 poverty data for your congressional district.

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