The CBC "Message to America" is distributed nationwide to the American Urban Radio Network's (AURN) affiliate stations and will broadcast at 5:10 PM (EST) on April 23 via closed circuit feed.
Hastings will deliver the following remarks:
"Hello. This is Congressman Alcee Hastings from Florida's 23rd Congressional District. I am honored to join you for this week's Congressional Black Caucus Message to America.
"For some time now the Congressional Black Caucus has been focusing our efforts on finding solutions for the chronically unemployed. Our current economic recession has left millions of Americans without jobs, forcing families and individuals to get by on reduced incomes, or sometimes no income at all.
"While the national unemployment rate has gone below 10 percent, unemployment for black Americans is still over 16 percent. Black Americans experience longer stretches of unemployment than the general population, and minority-owned businesses have been hit particularly hard. This presents a troubling racial and economic disparity that deserves national attention.
"But of the many aspects of unemployment and economic recovery that we can speak about, I want to particularly address youth employment. The fact of the matter is that these difficult economic times are hitting young folks -- and especially minority young people -- the hardest, creating an entire generation that is missing out on crucial opportunities to integrate into the workforce at an early age. This will have an enormous impact on their future earnings, their ability to attend higher education, and on the likelihood that they and their families will fall into poverty and insecurity. Even now, families who desperately need the income from summer youth employment will have to do without, squeezing their budgets even harder than they were before.
"The African American community has been hit especially hard by the lack of youth employment. African American teens are unemployed at a rate of almost 40 percent, nearly double that of the general population. In the long term, this reality makes it even harder for the young members of our community to access higher education and pull themselves out of poverty.
"I am pleased to report that the Congressional Black Caucus has been successful in securing federal funding for job creation and economic development, including for employment opportunities aimed at minority youth.
"The CBC has secured over $2.5 billion this year for direct job creation and to help people transition out of poverty through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The House of Representatives also recently approved over $600 million to create over 300,000 jobs. The CBC is advocating that those funds be doubled, and concentrated specifically on the creation of summer jobs, which directly benefit local communities and provide critical work experience for young people.
"Although the economy shows sign of improving, we must work hard to ensure that all Americans are lifted up. Minority communities are especially vulnerable to the downswings in our economy, and so we must ensure that the federal government provides the necessary funds to increase opportunities, especially for young people. The Congressional Black Caucus is fighting hard to reduce inequality, combat injustice, and set our communities on a path to prosperity.
"Once again, this is Congressman Alcee Hastings. Thank you for listening."