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Bipartisan Push Revives The Protect Black Women And Girls Act Examining Experiences Of Black Women And Girls In The U.S.

The legislation will be used to 'promote community-based methods for mitigating and addressing harm' on Black women and girls.

A group of bipartisan lawmakers are working to put a bill back in motion that explores the experiences of Black women and girls in America, The Hill reports. 

Co-chairs of the Caucus on Black Women and Girls – Democrat representatives Robin Kelly (IL), Yvette Clarke (NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ) – reintroduced the Protect Black Women and Girls Act on Feb. 1, after its initial introduction in 2021. Supported by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the bill will create a task force to “examine the conditions and experiences of Black women and girls in education, economic development, healthcare, labor and employment, housing, justice and civil rights.” 

The legislation will also be used to “promote community-based methods for mitigating and addressing harm and ensuring accountability, and to study societal effects on Black women and girls, and for other purposes.” 

In a statement, Kelly said addressing the disparities faced by Black women and girls in this country isn’t enough. More needs to be done. “Simply acknowledging our country’s history of targeted discrimination, harassment and violence against Black women and girls will not correct years of systemic racism and sexism,” Kelly said. 

“We must leverage the full weight of the federal government to seek justice for Black women and girls who deserve an equal opportunity for a full, happy, healthy life.”

The data and numbers don’t lie regarding how racial disparities disproportionately affect Black women and girls within a number of spaces. In Mississippi, Black women were found to be four times more likely to die due to pregnancy-related health issues and complications than white women in 2020. A few years prior to the act being introduced, Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, spoke out about the dangers of being Black and pregnant after being diagnosed with preeclampsia, resulting in an emergency c-section. 

While the price of everything is going up, the salaries of Black women are not. Employee salaries are not keeping up with inflation in the U.S. In 2022, the cost of living was at a 40-year high. According to the National Women’s Law Center, Black women are paid 67 cents for every dollar a white man makes. White men like Fitzpatrick said these disparities have gone on for “far too long.” On Twitter, Watson Coleman said the bill is a “crucial step toward finding lasting solutions to issues impacting Black women and girls.”

If the bill passes, the task force will provide recommendations to Congress, the president and every state government on different incentives that can be implemented to improve outcomes. 

Other lawmakers showed support of the movement like Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) She tweeted about the importance of providing Black women and girls with equal opportunities. “Black women have played a key role in ensuring liberty, equality, and opportunity for all,” Moore wrote. 

“I’m proud to support the Protect Black Women and Girls Act to ensure Black women and girls have equal opportunities to get ahead and succeed.”

Lastly, the bill will receive backup support from data. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will conduct a study and collect data on the effects of specific economic, health, criminal justice and social service factors on Black women and girls.

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