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Disgruntled clergy and healthcare leaders have launched a nationwide petition campaign in churches calling for the Congress and the private business sector to support President Obama‘s embattled jobs program. At the same time, they are also urging the creation of thousands of new employment opportunities for minorities in the pharmaceutical, insurance and other private industries.

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Clergy and Providers for Racial Healthcare Equality (CPRHE) announced the initiatives in mid-September at its “Save the Presidency of Barack Obama” gathering and town hall meeting in Harlem.

The campaign was part of the kickoff of a national petition drive aimed at reducing the excessive 16 percent unemployment rate among blacks. The national average unemployment rate hovers above nine percent.

At the meeting, 125 persons from the New York area signed petitions to be submitted to the Congress. CPRHE said it hopes to present thousands of other petitions, mostly from churches, within the next two months to the Congress in order to gain support for the President’s jobs bill.

“We are asking members of the Congress, the pharmaceutical, the insurance and the healthcare industry at large to commit themselves to reduce the unemployment rate among African Americans and other people of color,” declared Rev. Dr. Clyde Anderson, executive director of CPRHE, a healthcare and religious civil rights organization.

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“We are also asking church leaders and their congregations around the country to support the reelection of President Obama,” he said.

“If there is to be any progress with respect jobs creation and social justice for minorities, we must reelect the President.

“We believe that arch-conservative Republicans and tea partiers are determined to oust the President as well as the Democratically-controlled Senate,” he explained.

Anderson added: “It does not matter to them whether he is a great or effective president or not. They simply want him out of office so that they can continue to do their dastardly deeds.”

The four-point petition, which will be submitted to the Congress in late fall, calls on the Congress and the private sector to take the following actions:

• Pass Obama’s “American Jobs Act of 2011” in order to reduce the high unemployment rate among blacks, Latinos, Native peoples and other minorities.

• Pressure private industry–namely the pharmaceutical and insurance companies–to establish manufacturing and other plants in American minority areas rather than overseas to provide new jobs, as well as halt the future layoffs of them.

• Demand that Fortune 500 companies create a major new program to award contracts to minority-owned businesses, which will in turn be required to dramatically increase the percentage of minorities to their work force

• Mandate that all branches of the government cease doing business with private companies found guilty of engaging in discriminatory practices against minorities. These businesses include hospitals, clinics and others receiving moneys from Medicare, Medicaid and other governmental programs.