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Citizen Action/Illinois' William McNary in the Chicago Tribune

Date: 
10/06/2011

From the Chicago Tribune, Voice of the People, Oct. 5:

Voice of the People

October 5, 2011

In "The wrong help for the unemployed" (Commentary, Sept. 22), Tribune columnist Steve Chapman suggests that President Barack Obama was wrong to include a ban on ads that discriminate against the unemployed in his American Jobs Act. Some companies have posted ads that say those who are unemployed need not apply — a practice that is both shortsighted and inconsistent with American values.

Unemployment and the jobs crisis threaten everyone, but they do not affect everyone equally. We all know that African-Americans, Latinos, women and veterans are more likely to be out of work in today's economy. That means that they are more likely to run into this barrier of discrimination that says you cannot get a job if you do not have a job. Such explicit discrimination is no different from the old "Help wanted — men" newspaper ads, the "No Irish need apply" signs of the 19th century or the "Whites only" signs on drinking fountains.

In America, your success should depend on your talent, your skills and your ability to work hard. One piece of restoring the American dream of good jobs for everyone in America is to make sure we remove any barrier that could possibly block a person's access to this dream.

William McNary, Co-Director, Citizen Action/Illinois, Chicago