Metro-East News

Local minister hopes her actions lead to more jobs for minorities

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The Rev. Norma Patterson says a community like East St. Louis is sorely in need of jobs, and she wants to do something about it.

She wants to see the federal minority and women’s hiring goals set at 30 percent instead of the current 14 percent. She is taking a busload of people to Washington, D.C., on Monday morning to meet with officials at the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Transportation to press her case. She is inviting anyone who can go to join her group.

“Our people need jobs,” said Patterson, pastor of Good Shepherd of Faith United Church of Christ, 1514 Kansas Ave.

She said she has sent letters to President Obama, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Director of Public Policy Cecilia Munoz, among others, saying that while she applauds their efforts in issuing executive orders and in revising regulations that support working people in the country, too many minorities are not getting work in their own communities.

Patterson said that too often, outsiders trek into East St. Louis from far distances and are working while East St. Louisans are shut out at the local hiring halls.

Patterson also sent a letter to St. Clair County officials. “We are always being left out of discussions about jobs being brought to our community. Residents in East St. Louis found out about jobs when they awoke to bulldozers, backhoes or jack hammers. Citizens only knew what was happening when the streets and roads were barricaded. Most of the work is done by contractors from other cities and other states outside of Illinois,” Patterson wrote.

Patterson said the cost of the trip is $350 and includes the bus ride, hotel rooms and meals. For more information, call Patterson at (618) 271-9770.