This week we are hanging in time between the presentation of President Obama of the American Jobs Act (AJA) and the release of the unemployment numbers for September. There is a tension in each. The AJA, if allowed by Congress to be implemented, will put hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) of our community members back to work. There are so many benefits to this: They will be able to contribute to the revenue streams of their state and the federal government, they will require less support from the safety net, they will have an improved sense of self as a contributing member of society, and their children will be both more secure and proud. But the tension is there: Will those in Congress who believe in starving the federal government and disallowing a federal role in assistance to families and individuals pass such a bill?
The tension at the other end is the concern about whether the unemployment rate will rise or fall! Will this “recovery” continue to be an ever-deeper jobless one? Will more families find themselves without someone to bring home a paycheck? Will even more children go to bed hungry for more nights? Will more families find themselves moving once again as they are unable to meet the rent payment?
Companies are holding on to cash rather than investing in research and new technologies, and in hiring to accomplish those things – waiting until what they do spend will bring them even higher profits.
America is better than this! America is built of interdependent communities. Americans care about each other.
There are ways in which we can be community to each other, whether working or unemployed, ways in which we can enrich each other’s lives, be supportive – and when necessary be challenging. One tool to help us do this is a rather new program: Faith Advocates for Jobs. Local communities, faith communities are provided ideas and tools for bringing together those who are working, and those who are seeking work to be supportive, to enjoy each other, and to challenge. Take a look and form a community within your church group – or your neighborhood. http://faithadvocatesforjobs.wordpress.com/ 
NETWORK is a co-sponsor of this endeavor, and we are seeing it work.