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Does putting people to work reduce violence?
CINCINNATI (Deb Dixon) -- Eight thousand participants in the National Urban League convention converged on Cincinnati for July 24, 25, 26 and 27.
VIP's will include Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Rand Paul and actor Forest Whitaker. There will be events open to the public like a career fair with fortune 500 recruiters, a college fair and a small business workshop. The conference theme was announced as "One nation, underemployed."
Convention goers will see a vibrant city, a revitalized Over-The-Rhine and riverfront, the beginnings of the streetcar and like many other cities, high unemployment for blacks. Seventeen percent of African Americans in Cincinnati are unemployed compared with seven percent for whites. That will be addressed at the convention.
Other numbers are disturbing too. Cincinnati's homicide statistics are in line with national ones. Last year 55 percent of the homicides in America were black. 90 percent of them were killed by blacks.
Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League, said, "When you have large portions of men with no outlet, no hope, no way to earn a legitimate dollar; it means gangs and violence become attractive."
Even a little job, such as the village lawn care service, makes a difference. The teens running the business have to be on time, be respectful and have a savings account. Terry Coleman gives half his money to his mother. For him, the summer job is about more than mowing.
"It keeps me out of trouble, keeps me calm, keeps me focused. Half the time I'd be out here doing bad things that would get me to jail," Terry told Local 12.
Pastor Peterson Mingo believes most young people want to work, "When kids know they have a job and money, not as desperate. It cuts down on robberies, felonious assaults, drug deals the whole thing. No one would rather be on the corner risking their life than have a job."
While taking on unemployment the Urban League is also tackling crime. Vice President Joe Biden will be at the convention Thursday morning. Thursday afternoon's career fair is open to the public.
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