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Rev. Al Sharpton among those putting pressure on President Joe Biden to address high unemployment in Black communities

Rev. Sharpton puts pressure on Biden to address high unemployment in Black communities
Rev. Sharpton puts pressure on Biden to address high unemployment in Black communities 02:39

NEW YORK -- With the 2024 presidential election heating up, some polls have shown a shift among minority voters to the Republican Party. Unemployment may have something to do with it. On Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton highlighted the latest numbers, which show the rate is much higher among Black New Yorkers.

On the very day President Joe Biden was set to deliver a State of the Union speech to tell voters he's the man who can help them economically, Sharpton issued a wake-up call, in effect saying Black and brown New Yorkers shouldn't be left out.

"This is a moral issue," Sharpton said.

And with that, Sharpton was off and running, joining the Rev. Patrick Young and other leaders in decrying high unemployment rates for Black and Hispanics, especially in the outer boroughs, where jobs never recovered from the COVID pandemic.

"It is imperative that we deal with outer borough Black unemployment, where the focus has been too much on Manhattan," Sharpton said.

Sharpton said workers of color have faced huge challenges in recovering from the pandemic. The event was held in East Elmhurst, which was so hard hit by COVID that bodies had to be stored in refrigerated trucks.

He said white unemployment is at 3% and Black unemployment is at 9.3%.

"For Black unemployment to be almost triple white unemployment in Queens and in the Bronx and in Brooklyn is inexcusable," Sharpton said.

Rev. Young explained how bad it is in East Elmhurst, where his First Baptist Church of Corona is located.

"In this community, 20% of our people are living in poverty. We serve in this church every Saturday 800 families, around the block, wrapped around this church, and four blocks down. Every Saturday, we provide fresh produce, meat and nonperishable items for communities," Young said.

The press conference was held as polls show minority voters are beginning to shift their allegiance from Biden to Donald Trump, in part, because of pocketbook issues.

A New York Times/Siena poll shows that 23% of Blacks and 46% of Hispanics say if the election were held Thursday, Trump would get their vote.

CBS New York asked Rev. Young about it.

"The answer is working inside the party, not working outside the party," Young said.

Community leaders are pinning their hopes on the $8 billion project to build Metropolitan Park in Queens. They are hoping it will provide job opportunities in the minority community.

Sharpton called on Mayor Eric Adams to hold a City Hall symposium on creating jobs for Black and brown New Yorkers.

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