Nina McDowell
May 18, 2016


The Urban League of Broward County Endorses “Main Street Marshall Plan,”  To Address Social and Economic Inequities

Fort Lauderdale (May 17, 2016) – According to the 2016 State of Black America® report, the Miami Metropolitan area (which includes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.) ranked 25th nationally in unemployment equality and 17th  in income equality.

“These findings give us a gauge as to where we are and how far we have to go,” says Urban League of Broward County President and CEO, Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh

The National Urban League released the 40th edition of its signature report and outlined a comprehensive national remedy for the persistent inequities the report details.

“In the very first State of Black America report in 1976, then-president Vernon Jordan wrote, ‘The urgency of the problems that grip the American people allow no time for delay or for half-way measures,’” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “Sadly, the problems he described 40 years ago continue to grip the American people, and it’s long past time to meet them with full-measured urgency.”

The Main Street Marshall Plan: From Poverty to Shared Prosperity, unveiled during a live broadcast from the Newseum’s Knight Studio in Washington, D.C., is a sweeping and decisive solution to the nation’s persistent social and economic disparities. It calls for a $1 trillion investment over five years and includes:

  • Universal early childhood education
  • A federal living wage indexed to inflation
  • An urban infrastructure fund to fund schools, community centers, libraries, water systems and urban transportation
  • A new Main Street small- and micro-business financing plan with emphasis on businesses owned by women and people of color
  • Expansion  of summer youth employment programs
  • A combination of tax credits, training programs and expansion of the social safety net

“Investments such as these would aid in leveling the playing field for our communities.  As we move towards these solutions, I encourage our community to participate in this year’s election. We avoid leaving our future to chance when we exercise our rights as citizens. The most effective way for a community to challenge income disparities and other inequalities is by being an informed citizen and using the power of the vote; but moreover, holding elected officials and our fellow citizens accountable to the desired outcomes,” says Dr. Smith-Baugh.

The full report can be found at

Each year the State of Black America® provides a comprehensive, data-driven assessment of where Black and Latino Americans stand in relation to their white counterparts in the United States. The 2016 edition, “Locked Out: Education, Jobs and Justice” includes a 40-year retrospective.  From the report:

“In 1976, schools had been legally desegregated 22 years, the Civil Rights Act of 1963 was 13 years old, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had been in place 11 years, and the economy was one year into economic recovery from the recession that lasted from November 1973 to March 1975.  Still, blacks were nearly twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, the median black household had only 59 cents for every dollar of income in the median white household, and African Americans were three times more likely to live in poverty than whites.”

According to the most recent estimates, the black poverty rate is now 2.4 percentage points lower than in 1976 (down to 27% from 29.4%).   

Since 2004, the State of Black America included the Equality IndexTM, a quantitative tool for tracking Black-White racial equality in America. The 2016 Equality Index of Black America stands at 72.2%, just slightly higher than the revised 2015 index of 72.0%

The largest increase in this year’s index was in the area of education (from 76.1% to 77.4%), with smaller increases in economics (from 55.5% to 56.2%) and social justice (60.6% to 60.8%).  The civic engagement index declined sharply over the last year (from 104.0% to 100.6%) while the health index (from 79.6% to 79.4%) declined slightly. 

The 2016 Equality Index of Hispanic America stands at 77.8% compared to a revised 2015 index of 77.3 percent.


About the Urban League of Broward County

The Urban League of Broward County is a not for profit organization founded to empower communities and change lives. Our mission is to assist African Americans and other disenfranchised groups in the achievement of social and economic equality.  Our “Breaking the Cycle” of poverty programs uplift more than 7,000 people every year through affordable housing initiatives, youth development and diversion, employment and training, community empowerment, and civic engagement. Learn more about the Urban League of Broward County by calling 954-584-0777 or Urban League of Broward County can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at @ULBroward.

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