Psst, Romney, Obama: This Underemployed Brooklyn Teen Wants Action on Jobs

Unemployment is more than a political talking point for teen Raheem Jessop's family.

What's the hottest topic in the current presidential race? Jobs, jobs, jobs. Wednesday's presidential debate played to this hand: President Obama talked about how he rescued the country from the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression, and put millions back to work. Meanwhile, Governor Romney criticized the administration for not focusing on getting Americans to work fast enough, and instead working on health care. But although President Obama and Governor Romney talk about jobs numbers and unemployment, they lack the personal connection to the issue. For me, unemployment is more than a political percentage—it affects the very fabric of my family and my community.

My family has struggled economically—at times, I've been close to living on the street—and we live paycheck to paycheck, doing the best we can, trying to make ends meet. My aunt, who lives with us, was laid off from her job over a year ago, but while the technology and innovation that President Obama and Governor Romney talk about may lead to expanded employment, we don't see these jobs on the streets of Brooklyn. She is one of the strongest women I know, but I’ve seen her confidence plummet due to her long-term joblessness.

I've done my best to help make ends meet by spending summers working. However, I've never received a job during the school year—employers are reluctant to give young people part-time jobs, and working full time as a full time student would be impossible. While I have been trying my best to help my family, it is difficult to see them struggle, and not be able to do much about it.

It's all too easy to see the effect that unemployment has on entire communities, too. In Brooklyn, it's easy to get caught up doing the wrong things to make ends meet. While I have made a promise to attend college to create more options for myself, I know that not all of my peers have these same goals. First, they drop out of high school, which narrows their chances of getting a well paying job to support their family. What happens next is a cascading domino effect: Because they can't find a job, they commit crimes to find ways to make money. We all know being a criminal eventually leads to one of two places: prison, or death.

We need to figure out how to eliminate this unfortunate reality by providing more young people with jobs. I'd like to see each candidate get specific about how they're going to start or support existing government and community programs that will help create jobs, and help people to find employment. Such programs like this exist in towns and cities throughout the country. For example, in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has spearheaded a "Young Men's Initiative," in which over 4,000 young black and Latino males have learned basic job skills and received internships. It is programs like these, supported by local communities, which will get young Americans back to work.

Both candidates need to recognize that for families and communities like mine, unemployment isn't just a political talking point. It's reality. It cannot be a priority for the candidates—it needs to be the priority.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user photologue_np

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.