Washington, D.C. (March 22, 2016) ― Today, Congresswomen Robin Kelly (IL-02), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), announced the creation of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, the first caucus devoted to public policy that eliminates the significant barriers and disparities experienced by Black women.
Despite more than 430 registered congressional caucuses and Member organizations, no group on Capitol Hill has sought to make Black women and girls a priority in the policy debates that occur here. The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls will fill that gap, and provide the same attention for women that President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative has given to Black men and boys.
“Black women and girls are disproportionately affected by myriad socioeconomic issues that diminish their quality of life and threaten the wellbeing of their families and communities,” said Rep. Kelly. “The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls gives Black women a seat at the table for the crucial discussion on the policies that impact them while also providing a framework for creating opportunities and eliminating barriers to success for Black women.”
“From barriers in education, to a gender based pay gap that widens with race, to disparities in both diagnoses and outcomes for many diseases, our society forces Black women to clear many hurdles faced by no other group, and asks them to do it with little assistance,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “Black women deserve a voice in a policy making process that frequently minimizes, or altogether ignores the systemic challenges they face. This caucus will speak up for them.”
“In many ways, 23.5 million Black women and girls are consistently left out of the national discourse on a variety of policies that will affect their lives,” stated Rep. Clarke. “This caucus will be purposed to ensure that the infrastructure of inclusion fully incorporates the varied and unique needs of Black women. Our experiences must and will inform the direction we take as a nation and we can no longer afford to be excluded from important conversations. I am proud to stand with my colleagues at the inception of this caucus to be a vehicle for change and look forward to the great work that we will do.”
The Caucus was inspired by the #SheWoke Committee, a collective of seven national women leaders with a shared vision of advocacy, equity, and sisterhood.
“In January, we launched a petition asking our national leaders to create a space that prioritizes Black women and girls, and here we are in March with a platform that will serve as a vehicle towards change,” stated #SheWoke member, Sharon Cooper, biological sister of Sandra Bland. “We lift up all the Black women and girls who have lost their lives without press coverage, all the Black women and girls who are fighting for our collective liberation, and the Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, who responded in the way all elected officials should: with urgency. #SheWoke looks forward to supporting the efforts of this Caucus, and empowering Black women and girls through policy and advocacy.”