[Excerpt] More than 400 people gathered at a rally to hear new data about how New Haveners are missing out on New Haven’s living-wage jobs—and to call for a change.

The crowd Tuesday night spilled out the door of the Elk’s Lodge meeting room on Webster Street to support the launch of a campaign by the activist group New Haven Rising for “Access to Good Jobs” Tuesday night. Organizers plan to petition the Chamber of Commerce and the city’s leading employers to hire more New Haveners through existing city placement programs.
Organizers first presented results from a DataHaven survey showing that only 47,000 out of 83,000 jobs in New Haven provide living wages. New Haveners have only 9,000 of those living wage jobs and a little less than a fourth of total jobs. Residents of low-income neighborhoods such as Dixwell, Fair Haven, and Newhallville have only 2,000 of total living-wage jobs.
Organizer Reverend Scott Marks (pictured) addressed the audience as he would a congregation, keeping the crowd’s energy high and focused. The first step, he said, is engaging the community. Next, building consensus. The third step is to keep focusing the group until “we as a city fix the problem.”
He presented a by-the-numbers break-down of New Haven Rising’s summer organizing activity.
As he called out the statistics, organizers behind the podium (pictured at the top of the story) held up colorful signs in large type.
Twenty-three people gave more than 100 presentations about these figures in public and private venues in the past 71 days. More than 2,000 people attended these presentations, and a total of 4,181 signed the local-hiring petition.
“We’re not talking about what we’re going to do. We’re talking about what we’re already doing,” Marks said.