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Sat Jun 13, 2015, 01:06 PM

Bernie Sanders: Youth Unemployment and Dr. King’s Dream

By Senator Bernie Sanders

Many years ago I was honored to be among those who marched on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I was there for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and I heard him say that African-Americans live “on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

Dr. King taught us that the struggle for justice is economic, as well as social and legal. As he said in Memphis, a few short weeks before his death:

Our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?
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Let me tell you why this is so important. The Economic Policy Institute studied the real unemployment figures for recent high school graduates aged 17–20, including people who have given up looking for work and those who are working part-time but seek full-time employment. They are devastating. More than one third of white and Hispanic youth (33.8 and 36.1 percent, respectively) are looking for work. Shockingly, so are more than half of African-Americans (51.3 percent).

I want to emphasize that:

When you look at the real job figures, more than 50 percent of young African-Americans are looking for work.


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