In the introduction to the report, Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, wrote that “on many fronts, Black America remains in crisis – and we see justice challenged at every turn.”
Morial added: “The world watched as non-indictments of the police officers responsible for the deaths of unarmed Black males including Eric Garner, Michael Brown and John Crawford signaled that police accountability for taking Black lives was reaching a modern-day low – and that the widespread and dangerous mistrust between law enforcement and too many communities of color in America was reaching a new high.”
Morial also expressed concerns about separate and unequal resources in schools, double-digit unemployment in the Black community and continued attacks on voting rights.
The Black equality index increased from revised score of 71.5 percent in 2014 to 72.2 percent in 2015. In 2005, the Black equality index was 72.9 percent.
Higher scores in social justice (56.9 percent reported in 2014 report vs. 60.6 percent in the 2015 report) and health (78.2 percent vs. 79.8 percent) fueled the rise in the index. The economic indicator also rose slightly from 55.4 percent to 55.8 percent.
“The education (from 76.7 percent to 76.1 percent) and civic engagement (from 104.7 percent to 104 percent) indexes both declined slightly,” stated the report.
The report said that fewer Blacks are falling victim to violent crimes and a lower number of Black high school students are carrying weapons, which had a positive effect on the social justice index. The report also credited the Affordable Care Act and a decline in binge drinking for helping to improve the health index.
However, the report found that gaps in unemployment and homeownership widened.
“With an index of 65 percent, the smallest Black–White unemployment gap was in the Providence–Warwick, RI–MA metro area, where the Black unemployment rate was 13 percent and the white rate was 8.5 percent. Last year’s most equal metro – Augusta–Richmond County, Ga.,–S.C.– fell to #13 this year as the Black unemployment rate increased from 13.3 percent to 16.5 percent and the White unemployment rate was essentially unchanged.”
Toledo, Ohio’s Black unemployment rate was 22.6 percent, the highest rate among the metro areas in the study.
The National Urban League also reported that the, “Black and white incomes were least equal in San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, Calif., where the gap was 42 cents on the dollar.”
Morial wrote that 2014 was a catalytic year propelled by cataclysmic circumstances, “little accountability for law enforcement responsible for killing unarmed Black men, teenagers and children; a continual assault on voting rights; widening economic inequality gaps; and an increasingly partisan education debate far more rooted in political agendas than in putting our children first.”
Morial continued: “While we celebrate the tremendous progress and transformation of our nation, we have a continuing need to be vigilant, to persevere and to protect past gains. We must not allow the forces of division, intolerance and right-wing extremism to turn back the hands of time.”