Statement on Black History Month; For Jobs and Freedom

There is no shortage of dynamism among the members of our coalition. Regardless of the particular job title or communities served, the efforts to put New Yorkers on paths to work – no matter the starting point – are relentless and inspired. Embedded in these efforts – whether we call it out bluntly or now – is your resistance to the limitations that are too often imposed on those who have not found a footing in the workforce yet. That you carry forward – and consistently construct navigable pathways forward to education and training, #QualityJobs, careers – despite systemic and structural barriers – is a reflection of both your individual might and our shared history.

As this Black History Month comes to close, we want to acknowledge both the impact and power of Black labor on our city and country – past, present, and future – and express our interest in communicating the successes and setbacks to be found in this, the post-pandemic recovery of what should be nothing less than a City that proves its the greatest because of its demonstrated commitment to – and its measured results in working toward – equity and opportunity, accessibility and inclusivity.

I suggest to you today that we have been chosen for this moment to advance the case for the linkage of workforce development and economic development in a ‘new’ New York – to combat and close persistent Black-white unemployment gap, racial wage gap, underrepresentation of Black women in leadership positions in North American businesses. As described by A. Philip Randolph, labor leader and civil rights activist at the March on Washington in 1963. “We are not a pressure group, we are not an organization or a group of organizations, we are not a mob. We are the advanced guard of a massive, moral revolution for jobs and freedom.

Suggested Readings

City Limits: Opinion: Addressing Income Inadequacy and Occupational Segregation this Black History Month
McKinsey: Women in the Workplace Report, 2023
NYC Comptroller Report: Racial Wealth Gap in New York 

Editor’s note: This was originally included in NYCETC’s Workforce Weekly newsletter on February 28, 2024. Subscribe here.