Three Black congresswomen made history Tuesday when they formed the first caucus focused on Black women and girls.
The Black Caucus on Women and Girls is the only caucus of its kind and was confirmed through a press release through the U.S. House of Representatives. Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) confirmed the news in the release, according to The Huffington Post.
This is a major move for the government. According to the press release, the caucus is “devoted to public policy that eliminates the significant barriers and disparities experienced by Black women.”
There are 430 registered congressional caucuses and member organizations, but there has never been a group devoted to the causes of Black women and girls. The caucus will focus on including Black women in all decisions that affect them, including health, education and equal pay.
“Black women deserve a voice in a policy making process that frequently minimizes, or altogether ignores the systemic challenges they face,” Rep. Watson Coleman said in the press release. “This caucus will speak up for them.”
Inspired by the #SheWokeCommittee – which is a collective of seven national women leaders who have a shared idea of advocacy, equity and sisterhood – the caucus also seeks to provide the same amount of attention to the issues of Black women and girls that President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative brought to Black men and boys.
“We lift up all the Black women and girls who have lost their lives without press coverage,” said #SheWoke member Sharon Cooper, who is the biological sister of Sandra Bland. “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.”
Black women are affected by a wide variety of socioeconomic issues that other groups simply don’t have to deal with, according to the press release. The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls should bring Black women’s issues to the forefront and allow Black women to have the leverage their white male contemporaries get regularly.