Wednesday, November 11, 2009

4th Annual "Poverty Under the Stars" 11/12/09 7PM at SJSU

Lofgren, Community Leaders to Address the Great Recession Green, Living Wage Jobs Called for through Civic Works

San Jose, CA – November 11: This Thursday, Rep. Lofgren, Assembly member Beall, and many of Silicon Valley's civic leaders will gather to discuss the effect of the Great Recession on our nation and community.

This year's 4th Annual "Poverty Under the Stars" event, which is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project and the Cesar Chavez Community Action Center, will take place at the Tommie Smith and John Carlos Statue Garden on the campus of San José State University.

On November 12th, at noon, community organizations (e.g., Step Up Silicon Valley, Community Homeless Alliance Ministry, etc.) and campus organizations will set up tents around the Smith/Carlos statues that will be decorated with placards and pictures of the Great Recession.

At 7-9 pm, there will be a forum at the Smith/Carlos statues that will feature Silicon Valley leaders, including:

  • Congress member Zoe Lofgren
  • Assembly member Jim Beall
  • Jeff Moore, NAACP Silicon Valley
  • Theresa Iacino, Step Up Silicon Valley
  • Todd Madigan, Sacred Heart Community Services
  • Sabuhi Siddique, Ahmadiya Muslim Community, Milpitas
  • Aaron Nankin, Jewish Federation, Young Adults Division
  • Sakura Kone', Community Activist, New Orleans
  • Sandra Huerta, SJSU GCCWP Student

As a part of the event, civic works will be discussed as a solution to the Great Recession.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project, which was created at SJSU, helped to develop the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (House Resolution 2269). Rep. Lofgren introduced HR 2269 as a way to create 100,000 green jobs for hurricane survivors to rebuild affordable housing and infrastructure, restore wetlands, and promote energy efficiency.

And very soon, a California Civic Works Act based on HR 2269 may well be introduced in the Assembly to address the unemployment crisis here in the Golden State.

Finally, from 9PM - 7AM, students will sleep out to be in solidarity with the people who are being impacted by the Great Recession.

Here are some of the facts about the Great Recession that will be discussed at "Poverty Under the Stars":

15.7 million unemployed (10.2%) in U.S.
27 million (17.5%) unemployed, underemployed or stopped looking for work in U.S.
2.2 million unemployed (12.2%) in California
104,400 unemployed (11.8%) in Santa Clara County

623,852 homes lost to banks in 2009 (so far)
937,840 homes received a foreclosure letter in third quarter, 2009
69,727 unoccupied residential addresses in New Orleans
415 Santa Clara County homes foreclosed in September, 2009;
4,131 homes in process of foreclosure in Santa Clara County

40 million (14.6%) in poverty in U.S.19% of American kids in poverty, with 33% of black children in poverty; this latter figure expected to rise to 53% in coming years.

12 million American kids face hunger and food insecurityTwo poorest states in Union: Mississippi (22%) and Louisiana (19%);

California (13.3%) is ranked #20

In Santa Clara County, 25% of households do not earn enough to meet the minimum standard for self-sufficiency

71% of New Orleans schools still closed compared to pre-Katrina levels
California reduced K-14 funding by $3.7 billion (6.3%) in 2009-10;
$584 million cuts to CSU; CSU student fees up 30% in '09
California ranks 47th in nation in K-12 per pupil spending

In 1980s, 17% of the California budget went to higher education and 3% went to prisons. Today, 9% goes to universities and 10% to prisons.

$2 trillion in bailout funds given to banks & financial institutions
$2.2 trillion needed to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure

Infrastructure funded by American Investment Act: $150 billion
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase are set to hand out $48.9 billion in bonuses, which on average is more than $250,000 a person

New Orleans received the least amount of 2009-10 stimulus dollars of 435 congressional districts

30% of California’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 69 of our 1,247 dams are in need of rehabilitation

Contact: Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, San José State, (510) 508-5382,