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Poverty, Unemployment Discussed At Congressional Black Caucus Meeting

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Congressional Black Caucus is meeting in Baltimore to discuss issues that affect the African American community.

Marcus Washington has details on the issues discussed and the plan for action.

Poverty and unemployment were just two of the issues highlighted, discussing the challenges faced today in the black community right here in Baltimore and across the country.

For two and a half hours, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Joint Economic Committee discussed the results of a recent committee released document.

"It told most of us what we already knew, or, at least what we suspected--and that is that black America is in a state of emergency," said Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Congressional Black Caucus.

The document shows 1 out of 4 black families is living in poverty; 1 out of 3 black children also live in poverty.

It goes on to illustrate the unemployment disparities among blacks and whites in Baltimore show that a black person is two and a half times more likely to be unemployed over a white person and that the median income of a black person in Baltimore is $30,000 less than a white person living in the same city.

"What we are about are the policies. How do we formulate the policies out of the pain so that we can do our purpose? And that is to lift people's lives up," said Congressman Elijah Cummings, (D) Baltimore.

Many people say that these conversations are needed and important, but they fear they are followed by limited change.

"They can come up with legislation to handle some of the programs or for some of the problems. It's easy to say yes, but my gut feelings says it's lip service, it's business as usual. It's not going to go anywhere," said Chikaongola Linton, University of Baltimore graduate student.

"Policy makers know that when every family succeeds, America succeeds. And we hope this data will lead us to be stronger in pushing for policies that can bring true economic opportunity and a change in America," said Carolyn Maloney, Joint Economic Committee.

Democrats do not control House or the Senate, but many attending Tuesday they still have the ability to fight--and they will.

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