To: Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester:

Tell the Cleveland Federal Reserve: We Need an Economy That Works for ALL of us in Cleveland

As a voting member of the Federal Reserve, you have the power to support an economy that works for ALL of us. We urge you to vote "no" on any further rate hikes until our local economies start to create more jobs and wages increase.

Why is this important?

The Fed wants to stop the economy, because they think we’ve recovered from the financial crash, but for people like me, there hasn’t been a recovery.

My name is Maria Sapia. I am a Latina woman with a Bachelor’s Degree and I’m struggling to find a full time job. I have taken numerous temporary and part-time jobs to make ends meet. I am currently only working less than 20 hours a week to just to survive but the Federal Reserve doesn’t consider me nor millions like me that are underemployed across the country when making interest rate decisions.

I have not been able to find full-time work but I have not given up. It is hard enough to find any type of work now, just think how much more difficult it would be for me and many others in our communities if the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates before everyone has a job that provides them with a living wage.

Raising interest rates now means less opportunity for employment, and will obviously affect women and families of color like mine that are trying so hard just to get by. I am a hard worker who just wants a job that can provide me with the security of a roof over my head and food on my table.

My story is just one of many in here in Cleveland and across Ohio.

The black unemployment rate is almost 3 times the white rate here in Ohio and while the unemployment rate is around 4%, this doesn’t take into account those of us who are underemployed or those who have been searching for so long that they have given up hope of finding a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the real unemployment rate is close to 10%.

According to the New York Times, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo are 3 of the top 10 most economically distressed cities in the country. When President Mester says our economy is "solid", I disagree. This is an unacceptable time for the Fed to stall our economy.

When the Fed raises interest rates the economy slows down so employment and wages freeze or start to fall again. When the Fed says they want to raise interest rates, they’re telling us to get used to the economy as it is: twice as many people as before the recession working part-time because they can’t find full time work, double-digit unemployment in black communities, and decades of flat wages. If the Fed continues to raise interest rates, then they’ll be stopping the economy before giving us a chance to get back on our feet.

The Fed has a dual mandate: to maximize employment and to maintain stable prices. The only reason to raise interest rates would be to stop inflation. But there isn’t any inflation in the economy – we are still below all the Fed’s target rates. The Fed is sacrificing all the jobs that we could be getting and all the wage gains we could win if we kept interest rates low, all for the sake of an inflation threat that doesn’t even exist. Most of those unnecessary sacrifices of jobs and wages will be losses borne by Black communities and communities of color.

The work of the Fed isn’t done: we need a recovery that works for everyone, including communities of color. We need to keep interest rates low so working people and families like mine have a chance for better jobs and better wages.

How it will be delivered

This petition will be delivered to Cleveland Federal Reserve officials at a public forum.

Cleveland, OH, United States

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2016-03-11 13:48:50 -0800

500 signatures reached

2016-03-11 09:22:38 -0800

100 signatures reached

2016-03-11 09:13:32 -0800

50 signatures reached

2016-03-11 09:10:03 -0800

25 signatures reached

2016-03-11 09:08:15 -0800

10 signatures reached