In an opinion piece, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker called for a “Main Street and MLK Boulevard” stimulus.

By adding MLK Boulevard, Holt Baker elegantly projected a unified, multi-racial approach to job creation and economic crisis.

Special measures to address years of discrimination strengthen the fight for economic relief and justice for all. Everyone – white, black, brown, Asian, American Indian – has a stake in the fight. Unemployment rates for people of color remain higher than white counterparts. Yet, powerful forces seek to pit groups of working people against each other, using racism in the first place. A multi-racial, united movement is the only way to win gains for all struggling people.

Holt Baker writes, “It’s not just people of color who are paying the price. All communities, including whites, African Americans, Latinos, and others in Rust Belt states, the northeast corridor, and ‘new economy’ Sun Belt states are losing jobs, homes, and businesses. It’s a nightmarish destruction of wealth.”

Holt Baker points out the demise of manufacturing affects African Americans disproportionately. “Places that were hit the hardest by these job losses–Chicago’s South Side, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Toledo, Atlanta–all have large black populations. Local tax bases are shrinking, eroding education and destroying public jobs, public services, and public safety.”

Plus, African Americans and Latinos were “targeted for subprime lending,” and “disproportionately slammed by foreclosures and bankruptcies. Communities suffering these economic blows are less able to support minority-owned small businesses–the auto dealership, the barbershop, and more.”

Holt Baker places a five point program to alleviate the crisis, which includes retooling deindustrialized communities for green jobs, rescuing states/municipalities with budget short falls and maintaining the lifeline of unemployment insurance, health care and food assistance.

This is the challenge of our times! To create a movement that can compel the rebuilding of the economy for the interest of Main Street, MLK Boulevard, Cesar Chavez Avenue, etc. Each one of us has to get involved and help build it.



PW Editorial Board
PW Editorial Board

People’s World editorial board: Editor-in-Chief John Wojcik,  Managing Editor C.J. Atkins, Copy Editor Eric A. Gordon, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Mark Gruenberg, Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson, Senior Editor Roberta Wood, Senior Editor Joe Sims