By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
On April 20, The New York Times published a powerful piece arguing that the use of jail to pressure parents to pay child support traps low-income, noncustodial parents in “in a cycle of debt, unemployment and imprisonment.” We agree—and that’s why we’re thrilled that today, The Times printed our Letter to the Editor lifting up employment, not incarceration, as a way to help low-income parents support their families and meet their own needs. We hope you’ll read—and share!—our piece.
Interview by Caitlin Schnur, Policy and Research Assistant, National Transitional Jobs Network
Racial inequality is still painfully widespread—with the unemployment rate for black Americans at about double that of white Americans, more than one in five working age black men living in poverty, and more African-Americans on probation, parole, or in prison today than were slaves in 1850, our country needs to stop standing by and start standing up for black men. With support from the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), the National Transitional Jobs Network (NTJN) B.MORE project is opening doors to employment and economic advancement for low-income black men across the country.
Earlier this year, NTJN brought on James Jones as the B.MORE Project Coordinator. James’ previous work experience involved community organizing, coalition building, and advocacy for residents of public housing in St. Louis, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. While James loved working directly with constituents, he was drawn to the B.MORE Project because he knew it would give him a different lens through which to approach anti-poverty work.
In this interview, the NTJN’s Policy and Research Assistant, Caitlin Schnur, sat down with James to talk about the B.MORE Project’s current work, the importance of collaboration across related fields, and why he can’t get enough of E&L Barbeque in Jackson, Mississippi.