Hope and despair at a job fair.
'The hopefuls began lining up along Vermont Avenue hours before the church doors opened for the job fair at 9 a.m. Men in pressed slacks and sports jackets, women with high heels peeking from their purses and flip-flops on their feet for standing. A few folks were pushing babies in strollers; one guy was holding the front wheel of the bicycle he had ridden there from Inglewood. Almost everyone in line was black; all of them clutching briefcases, clipboards or binders, with resumes they hoped to exchange for business cards from would-be employers.'
'I weaved through a queue that stretched for blocks, asking how they felt and why they had come. One woman seemed to sum it up best: "To fill out applications, leave our resumes and let them know we're hungry."
Hungry in a literal way, for some — those who have been out of work so long, they need food banks and donated clothes to get by.
But I sensed a different kind of hunger in the crowd too — a need for reassurance that, as a preacher would promise from the pulpit that morning, "You are not going to stay down!"'
'The job fair felt like a combination church revival and political summit. The night before, more than 1,000 people tried to crowd into the sanctuary for a Town Hall session with 13 members of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights standard Jesse Jackson.'
'Inside the Faith Dome, job trainer Carrie Marks gave the group a quickie primer: "Focus on 'hard skills,' what you know. I have. I can. I am. Think of it as a 30-second commercial to let them know what you bring to the job." I saw people taking notes around me.
The church people handled it differently. "Today's your day for victory," Pastor Fred Price Jr. told the crowd. "You're gonna get a job today."
His sister took the stage, and called for prayer. "We want you to be employed when you leave these grounds!"'
'Across the street was a row of three others: Iglesia Palabra Viva, First Community Baptist, and Romona's Gospel and Exhibit Theater. And on the corner, Community Centers Inc., promising "Miracles Happen Here."'
The US economy added no net new jobs in August, according to the key non-farm payrolls figures from the Department of Labor
'The unemployment rate remained unchanged from July at 9.1%.
In addition, the figures for the previous two months were revised down to show weaker jobs growth.'
'It is the first time since 1945 that there has been a zero payrolls figure.'