For immediate release
May 4, 2015
Lack of Good Jobs and Economic Opportunities at Heart of Baltimore Crisis, Community Groups Say
Baltimore, MD – One Baltimore United, a coalition of labor and community groups representing tens of thousands of Baltimore residents, is holding a press conference today in front of Baltimore City Hall, calling for a comprehensive civil and economic rights recovery program to heal Baltimore in the wake of riots and protests triggered by the death of Freddie Gray.
At the heart of the crisis in Baltimore, members of One Baltimore United say, are a lack of good jobs and other economic opportunities. In the 1950s, Baltimore was home to a number of thriving industries, particularly in manufacturing and shipping. After decades of industrial decline, more than 24% of Baltimore residents today live below the poverty line. This decline has hit the black community especially hard, with the unemployment rate for black men between the ages of 20 and 24 at a staggering 37% as opposed to 8% for their white counterparts. Critics say that strategies by policy makers to rebuild the economy in Baltimore have largely failed, with public subsidies disproportionately benefiting downtown development at the expense of struggling neighborhoods. Decades of neglect and job flight have now resulted in a community in crisis and despair.
In response, the group is putting forth a new agenda for civil and economic recovery, calling on policy makers both city and statewide to ensure:
- Justice for Freddie Gray, Tyrone West, Anthony Anderson and all victims of police brutality
- All publicly subsidized development include workers rights and community benefits agreements, including a commitment to local hiring and living wages
- New investment in community land trusts for permanently affordable housing
- Adequately funded strong public services and schools
“Martin Luther King said a riot ‘is the language of the unheard.’ America, he said, had failed to hear the economic plight of black America that worsens every year. His words ring true today in Baltimore more than ever,” says Father Ty Hullinger, President of Interfaith Workers Justice of Maryland. “If we want to see change, we need city and state leaders to make a real commitment to creating more good jobs and working with community partners to make change that benefits us all.”
About One Baltimore United: One Baltimore United is a coalition of community, faith, and labor organizations standing together for One Baltimore where the leadership puts Baltimore families first. We stand for a better Baltimore for All! Coalition partners include: Union Baptist Church, Interfaith Worker Justice MD, Jews United for Justice, Baltimore NAACP, Communities United, Casa de Maryland, The Committee of Concerned Citizens, Penn North Community Center, Liberty Recreation and Tech Center, Right to Housing Alliance, Neighbors without Borders of Greater SW Baltimore, City Union of Baltimore, Maryland Working Families, Corporate Accountability International, United Workers, Food and Water Watch, AFSCME Council 67, AFSCME Council 3, Metro Baltimore AFL-CIO, UNITE HERE Local 7, MD-DC AFL-CIO, Laborers Local 710 and 1199SEIU, Change4Real, and ATU 1300.