NYT: Learning From the Ferguson Tragedy
Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont and others respond to the racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo.
To the Editor:
The New York Times and other media have focused enormous attention on the tragedy in Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black youth was shot and killed by a police officer. Unfortunately, there has been very little discussion about the economic and social tragedy that has befallen an entire generation of young black men.
Today, more than 5.5 million young Americans have either dropped out of high school or graduated from high school and have no jobs. Today, while youth unemployment is 20 percent, African-American youth unemployment is 35 percent, and in the St. Louis area, it is even higher than that.
Incredibly, there are estimates that if present trends continue, one of every three black American men born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime.
If there is anything that we can learn from the Ferguson tragedy, it should be a recognition that we need to address the extraordinary crises facing black youths. That means, among other things, a major jobs program, job training and vastly improved educational opportunities.
U.S. Senator from Vermont
Burlington, Vt., Aug. 20, 2014
- Youth Jobs Bill: In the St. Louis area where police and protesters have clashed, the black youth unemployment is near 50 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday as he proposed legislation to help unemployed young people find jobs, The Nation, MSNBC and WPTZ-TV. “If kids have no jobs, if kids have no hope, if kids have no future then alternatives like drugs or self-destructive activity or crime become their way of life,” Sanders said. “If you give kids the opportunity to get a job, he or she sees a career path in front of them, earns decent money, that's the route that they're going to take.”