The National Action Network (NAN) held its Jobs and Justice Rally on Friday, Dec. 9. Supporters stood out in the cold in solidarity to rally for more jobs for people in the community and justice for poor people overall.
Speakers at the rally included NAN President Al Sharpton, NAACP President Ben Jealous and Rep. Charles B. Rangel. The original topic of the rally was jobs and justice, but speakers took to the podium to speak on everything from supporting President Barack Obama to stopping violence in the neighborhood.
Jealous spoke about not only the need to be able to get a job, but also to be able to provide for a family. “This has never been about having a job-it’s about trying to be able to support your family, to support your children’s dreams,” he said.
Echoing those remarks, NAN Youth Director Victoria Pannell said, “People need jobs. They also need from that job a salary that will allow them to take care of their families.”
Another theme that came about during the rally was giving back to the community. Pannell mentioned that those who can afford to employ someone should do so, saying, “If you are a citizen who is financially able to hire someone to do a job for you, then do so.”
“We must know that the young professionals cannot get good jobs and go on and take their money and their education and their success out into the world and not bring it back to the community,” said Executive Director of NAN Tamika Mallory.
Brian Benjamin, founder of Young Professionals United for Change, was there to represent young professionals who give back to the community. “We cannot create jobs that underemploy people, that do not give people the chance to build good households and create opportunities for the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez called out millionaires and corporate greed, saying, “Millionaires need to pay their fair share.”
Sharpton and the NAN plan to continue their fight for jobs around the country and will be rallying in cities nationwide.