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(Chicago Sun Times) — Poverty-stricken minority neighborhoods across America are “zones of pain” in a “state of emergency” that deserve a swift federal response, a group of black leaders said during a discussion on economic recovery at the Rainbow/PUSH annual conference Saturday.

“We’re fighting two battles right now . . . to rescue main street and rebuild back street. Most of our cities were already in a state of recession before the recession,” NAACP President Ben Jealous said. “The federal government must be forced to make a decision publicly on whether or not [budget] deficits are more destructive than massive joblessness.”

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