Streets across America have become the sounding board for the majority that refuses to remain silent in such turbulent economic times. The cry is for jobs, for economic justice, for a fair shake at making a decent living. AFRO reporters hit the streets of Washington D.C. to engage those who are struggling with unemployment and the accompanying challenges. This regular series will share their plight, one which is common to so many. What does it take to survive?
Diamond Whitaker, 20
“I got pregnant at 16 and graduated online from Addison High School. It’s been rough ever since. I’ve been on my own for awhile. I worked at I-HOP on Kenilworth Avenue until we were evicted from our apartment, when my roommate was unable to pay her portion of the rent. I had another job at Boardwalk Burgers and Fries in College Park, until it closed down this summer. Now I’m unemployed, homeless and on TANF. I want to go to school to become a home health aide. It cost $650 for three weeks of training. I don’t even have the $50 needed to pay for testing. But everything revolves around having my own place.”
Lewis Watts, 56, administrator
“I became sick while working at the Department of Public Works and went out on medical leave, in 2008. Now I am on partial disability. I would like to work with youth, addiction counseling or light maintenance. But it’s really hard nowadays trying to find work when there’s so much outside completion.”
Everett Delph, 51, customer service representative
“I was working for Unity Health as an HIV tester and driver until it laid off an entire department with one month’s notice. That happened this past March. I’ve been struggling ever since. I’ve gone to every job fair I hear about but nothing happens. I took CLD training but ain’t nobody hiring. You can go to college, get a degree or take classes, but if no one is hiring all it is a piece of paper.”