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 Baltimore and 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?

Krystal Spriggs, 22, Planner/Office Manager
The Maryland native, also the mother of a 2-year-old, has been unemployed for most of 2011 after being laid off from her job as a treatment planner/assistant officer manager for a private dental practice located in downtown Silver Spring, Md. The owner of the practice replaced nearly the entire office staff, telling them “he wanted to shake up the image of the office to attract new customers.” Spriggs has survived by filing for unemployment benefits. Fortunately for Spriggs, she has been able to lean on friends and family for support.

“There hasn’t been much luck for me finding a healthy, decent paying job this year,” Spriggs said, “But I’m remaining positive through it all. Eventually the sun will shine and dry up the rain. I’m keeping faith!”

Spriggs graduated from Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Silver Spring, Md. and has some years of college experience. She’s also bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English fluently. She can be contacted at

Denice Sanford, 24, is a part time student at Sanford-Brown College
“I have been unemployed for three years. I just can’t find work that will allow me to have a flexible work schedule while I’m in school.”

Mary L. Pope,24, Food preparation
Pope lost job after it went out of business in February. She has expertise in food preparation for the elderly, handicap, schools and daycare centers. A mother of a preemie, Pope says things have been complicated and confusing. “I want to work but I need daycare. I can’t get daycare because I must be in a job placement program. I don’t qualify for the job placement programs because I get too much money from unemployment. I must be on TANF. You would think the government would be happy to help people that are not totally dependent on it. Instead, I’m being punished! What else do they want me to do?”

Timothy Buie, 50, a carpenter
Buie believes his criminal past keeps him from getting employment. “I paid my dues for what I did; yet it seems businesses want to keep punishing me. I desperately want to get a job. I’m doing all I can to find work.”