State News

Raleigh vigil testifies to unemployment woes

Posted October 10, 2011 4:03 a.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2011 7:11 a.m. EDT

— Labor, church and liberal activists held a rally in the state capital to draw attention to the unemployed and others who can only find part-time work.

The demonstration began at dusk Monday in Raleigh with dozens of protesters lighting candle luminaries throughout Bicentennial Mall to mark the country's jobs crisis. 

Two unemployed workers testified about their experiences on the front lines of the tough times. 

Hope Krehbiel has been out of work for two years. 

"I (don't) want to cry because I'm more frustrated than anything about not being able to find work," she said. "Everybody needs a job, a good job. I know myself, I'm a good worker, if only I'm given the chance to work."

Krehbiel said she lost her home, but hasn't lost the support of her community. 

"If we don't start now, when? We have to stand up for one another and fight for those who are unemployed," said volunteer Isaac Gobern.

Marcella Robinson said she spent 15 years in the medical field before losing her job two years ago. She worries about losing her home, she said.

"My daughter hasn't left for college because she's afraid we're going to get evicted," Robinson said.

Speakers at the event included the pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh and the director of the left-leaning North Carolina Budget and Tax Center.

The vigil was organized by the local American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations chapter. Organizers spoke about investment in infrastructure to help state businesses create more jobs.

"The message we want to send to our elected officials is that we, as workers, matter," said AFL-CIO representative MaryBe McMillan. "We're the consumers who shop at stores. We're the taxpayers who provide revenue for local government."