The Rev. Jesse Jackson, head of Operation PUSH, announced yesterday that 25,000 unemployed youths and others will march on Washington May 17 in an effort to call national attention to youth unemployment.
Jackson said the march will be the first of a series of efforts to keep programs that aid the unemployed, the poor and minorities from being cut drastically by the current efforts to balance the federal and D.C. budgets.
"The focus of the march is to wake up people," Jackson said at the District Building press conference. "There is a mass shift to the right in this couuntry, and there is the attempt to cut back on programs, to cut jobs," he said. "We must change the climate under which such cuts take place."
Jackson said the march will take place from the White House to the Captiol for rallies and speeches. During the week, participants will lobby the Congress. The march also will commemorate the 26th anniversary of the 1954 Brown Vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that struck down segregated education in the public shcools.
David Cortright, spokesman for the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, an antinuclear group long associated with peace movements, several local clergy including Rev. Leamon White of Mt. Bethel Baptist Church and Rev. Gregory, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and local chairman of Operation Push, and activist Dick Gregory also spoke in support of the youth march.
"As the federal government begins to balance the budget, minorities are asked to take the brunt of inflation," said Jose Gutierrez, a spokesman for the Hispanic community and acting director of the city's personnel office.
"We are tired of being the high-risk group that has to deal with how to figure out where the next meal is coming from, how to find a job," Gutierrez said.
Jackson said, "We support an alternative budget that is geared to human needs, is labor intensive, fights inflation and balances the budget at the same time."