Poverty and Unemployment: Impact on African American Community

On poverty and unemployment and their impact and effect on people, the late Nelson Mandela said the following:

“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” (February 3, 2005).

“Jobs, jobs and jobs are the dividing line in many families between self-esteem and helplessness.” (June 20, 1996)

Despite these concerns, the global unemployment rate, according to the World of Work Report 2013: Repairing the economic and social fabric  of the International Labor Organization, is said to have increased to 202 million people in 2013 and is projected to increase to 215 million people in 2018.

The report also indicates that whilst the global economy is recovering from the 2008-2009 crisis or meltdown, “young people and women find it difficult to obtain jobs that match their skills and aspirations” and warns of rising social unrest in most regions.

About 74.5 million young people aged 15 to 24 are reported to have been unemployed in 2013 and 375 million workers (11.9 % of the global working force) lives on less than US$1.25 per day while another 839 million workers (26.7% of the global workforce) live on less than US$2 a day or less according to the ILO report - Global Employment Trends 2014: The risk of a jobless recovery. Youth unemployment and the increasing number of the working poor are the major contributors of the increasing social unrest all over the world according to the ILO. 


  • Shantha Ready Alonso. Shantha is the Field Organizing Manager at NETWORK. Based in Washington, DC, NETWORK educates, organizes, and lobbies for public policies that align with Catholic social justice values
  • Kevin Alexander Gray from South Carolina, lifelong civil rights activist and author of "Waiting For Lightning to Strike, the Fundamentals of Black Politics" 
  • Serusha Govender, an Award winning freelance journalist, writer and broadcaster based in New York and Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Raymond Bayor, a Ghanaian studying journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism


  • Tseliso Thipanyane
  • Wuyi Jacobs