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Among The Unemployed Melting Pot

Updated on November 2, 2011

Among The Unemployed Melting Pot

Yesterday, I attended a job fair in Brooklyn, New York, sponsored by one of our local Politicians, Evette Clarke. What warrants my writing about this particular job fair is the legions of people who attended and the cross sections of New Yorkers who came seeking employment. Case in point, although Miss Clarke’s political district encompasses mostly African American enclaves, those who attended – including me - and waited in line for over three hours were akin to the rainbow colors of the United Nations. I too thought that it was going to be a short wait in line to see one of the employment vendors, but instead I waited hours in a line that took up many blocks. For me, it was even more sobering about the state of employment in New York because besides me, in line, was an Orthodox Jew. That is something you seldom see – as a matter of fact, there were several Orthodox Jews in line, which underscored the gravity of the situation.

I wished the local media would have been there to witness the sheer number of people who were out of work, notwithstanding what the weekly job report says. This country-mile-long line of the unemployed should have been memorialized and shown to our governor and President Obama. Incidentally, I don’t know if my Jewish friend was being politically correct because when he saw so many African Americans attired in formal wear and standing in line, he opined that so many minorities obviously wanted to work. I did not know how to process that statement, but again, it underscored how bad things are out here. By the time most of us got inside, we simply had to drop off our resumes because, apparently, the school, which hosted the vendors, was only available until 2:30PM. The local politician, Evette Clarke, did come out and apologize, saying that she underestimated the volume of those who would show up… promising to have another fair in the near future.

I am surmising that this same scenario would have been the same in other cities, if they were to have job fairs. The truth is Miss Clarke may have indeed underestimated the numbers that showed up for the job fair because, perhaps, she thought that only her district’s constituents would attend. It must be noted that the jobs available at the fair were mid to low paying: bank tellers; social workers; and administrative positions with one of New York’s utilities company - but all that did not matter to those us who stood in line - braving the unusually cold weather for that particular day - making up the melting pot of the unemployed.

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