Coalition Building and the State of Black America

Today, the National Urban League released its annual report, “The State of Black America 2011: Jobs Rebuild America,” which examines the issues central to Black America.

Not surprisingly, given the fact that Black unemployment currently sits 15.3 percent, the National Urban League says that the most pressing issue facing Black Americans is jobs.

In an interview with CNN, National Urban League President Marc Morial makes a really good point about the challenge Black folks face in utilizing their political power to ensure that the policies that benefit them, like job creation policies, are employed:

Translating those electoral victories into public policy impact remains the most difficult challenge. More and more, for African Americans coalition building will be important – with Latinos, Asians and like-minded whites.

Coalition politics, which has been the political formula for success in American municipal elections, will be the most important element for political success in the next generation.

This strikes me as right.

At 12 percent of the population, we are simply not large enough on our own to push elected officials to adopt policies and enact legislation that benefit our communities.

But the policies that benefit us, that create jobs and invest in education, are the very same policies that many of our Latino, Asian, and White working-class brothers and sisters need to ensure that they have every opportunity to succeed.

I think with the attacks on organized labor, voting rights, immigrants, we are starting to see different groups of people who are being demonized in different ways come together to fight back.

But, without question, we need more of that.