The challenge of President Obama’s speech to Congress on the American Jobs Act was just what we as a nation needed to pull out of the polarizing rhetoric and to move toward working together for the good of the whole. This call to Congress to actually govern by solving some of the most difficult issues of our time was essential to try to shift toward actual collaboration. We agree that “we are tougher than the times we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been.” We also agree that only by working together can we solve the issues of unemployment and wealth disparity  that are gnawing at the foundations of our democracy. President Obama underscored this responsibility by pointing to the historic reality that generations before us invested in programs and infrastructure that have made us who we are. We agree that our generation must do our part to prepare responsibly for the future.
We strongly support those specific proposals that address critical needs of people who live at the economic margins of our society. They include strategies to widen employment opportunities and much-needed help for people who have been without jobs for extended periods of time. People in African-American communities, which have experienced appallingly high unemployment rates of almost 17 percent, should find new paths to enter the workforce. Initiatives to rebuild and revitalize poor communities should include new investments in job training and school construction, along with plans to prevent tens of thousands of teacher lay-offs. These investments in education and infrastructure are essential not only for individual communities, but also for our future as a nation.
We heard the president’s call as he “remind(ed) us that if we act as one nation and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.” We at NETWORK will continue our work for change that benefits all people in our nation. Together we can meet this challenge and live up to the ideals of our faith and our Constitution.