Raheem Jessop


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.

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