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Obama Criticized Over Urban Policy

By Staff in News on Apr 27, 2009 2:20PM

Residents of Roseland where President Obama got his start as a community organizer gathered on Saturday and gave him a thumbs-down for not doing enough to tackle urban problems in his first 100 days in office. Mark Allen a community activist who worked with Obama from the beginning of his career isn’t satisfied that he is doing enough. “Some of these streets are worse than they were when he walked down these streets,” said Allen.

According to Allen, Obama’s urban policy pledges to support programs such as CeaseFire, an anti-gang violence program but the city has received no federal stimulus money for such a program. Other residents directed their comments toward U.S. Senator Roland Burris but he was spared the residents’ criticism during the 90-minute meeting at which they asked him to carry their agenda to Washington.

Allen’s concerns were echoed by former Chicago Housing Authority Director Phil Jackson who showed Burris a map of 34 Chicago Public School students killed in the last nine months which was centered around a flag that marks Obama’s home in Kenwood. Jackson stressed the need for stimulus money to be targeted to jobs and internships for youth. “When we had a summer jobs program, we were able to keep 80 children safe and off the streets” he said. “When it ended, three of them were shot. One of them was killed. We have to rebuild the black family. We need strong institutions in our community.”

Burris said he found himself at a loss trying to stop some children from turning to crime and there was little the government could do to solve the problems of broken African-American families. Allen said he would like to see Obama locate the headquarters for his urban affairs office in Roseland. “Everything is ‘middle class this’ and ‘middle class that’. Nobody has a poor people’s agenda,” he lamented.

Burris said the economic downturn was showing middle-class America how people in neighborhoods like Roseland live. “The hurt has always been in the grass-roots community. They’re experiencing now what we live with almost every day in terms of how you get by with little or nothing and how you do more with less.” [Sun-Times]

Post by Camela Furry