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Shine a Light

Letters to the Boston editors, September 16, 2011
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  September 14, 2011


As president/CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (ULEM), I would like to respond to Chris Faraone's "In the Shadow of Walmart" (September 2).

ULEM is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the public since 1917. For decades, we have been a leader in paving the way for equality in employment, housing, and health care for unemployed and underemployed adult minorities living in Boston. Our clients are un- and underemployed adults, ages 18 to 85 and overwhelmingly people of color. Our clients achieved a job-placement rate of over 80 percent last year, with an average pay of $14 per hour, which in turn stimulated Boston's economy and benefitted the broader community.

Many agencies, including governmental, corporate, and nonprofit, believe in our mission and know that we work in an ethical and credible manner. Walmart is one of nearly 70 corporations that have interfaced with us this past fiscal year. It's important to note that Walmart did not support ULEM financially for the National Urban League conference. Faraone misspoke when he stated that we received $50,000 from them as a corporate sponsor. The National Urban League organization received a sponsorship from Walmart, but we as an affiliate did not receive any of those monies. For the record, ULEM's most recent financial support from Walmart was a $75,000 grant in June 2010 for an ongoing "green" community workforce project.

At ULEM, our advocacy for job growth and economic development remains front and center to our work. Our job is to ask the tough questions and hold people and their organizations accountable. The high rates of underemployment and unemployment in the black community warrant a discussion about permanent job growth and potential construction jobs for a community that desperately needs it. It seems that everyone with a job or a career has been quick to say NIMBY. I say let's talk and find out what is on the table, and then determine the next best steps for the community going forward.


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  Topics: Letters , Economic Development, Job Growth, National Urban League,  More more >
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