WASHINGTON, DC, — The Wall of Exclusion & Poverty. We must rethink and rebuild our communities Cities which continues to struggle with violence and higher than national unemployment rates, should use its resources to rebuild its communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau study 27% of all African American men, women and children live below the poverty level compared to just 11% of all Americans. An even higher percentage (38%) of Black children live in poverty compared to 22% of all children in America. The poverty rate for working-age Black men 18 to 64 is (21%).

Presently, with the approval of a $3.5 billion bond measure, Chicago’s airports, O’Hare and Midway will undergo terminal expansion and runway upgrades. the Department of Aviation Commissioners has been called into question on more than one occasion by city aldermen, specifically because of the lack of minority contractors and employees at O’Hare and Midway airports, failure to include South Side neighborhoods in hiring efforts, high turnover and low wages, and allegations of $1.2 million in “wage theft” from hundreds of airport employees who draw their paychecks from private contractors. Frustrated city aldermen have recommended that the bonus criteria for Commissioners be made more stringent, one aldermen stating that increasing African American participation in these projects should be included. NAMC agrees with the alderman’s recommendation.

Many of the social and economic problems that destabilize the well-being of large urban Cities are directly related to economics, poverty, and disenfranchisement. Particularly the blatant disregard of the obligation for public resources to include urban communities and taxpayer. On behalf of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) Board of Directors, I’m requesting your engagement in exploring remedies for the problems which have troubled Chicago’s publicly funded construction projects. NAMC would hope that in a city with a disproportionate number of minority residents below the poverty line, projects which serve as gateways to a living wage would include more minority participation. We would welcome a discussion with you to begin establishing a course of action that will ensure more equitable participation of minority businesses and communities.

Sharon Sanders
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