Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., is putting the needs of African American women in the spotlight through the work of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.
Kelly, who represents Homewood and Flossmoor in Congress, founded the caucus with two other representatives. Kelly said the caucus was necessary to give voice to the 23.5 million black women and girls who should be considered a priority in policy debates.
Over the past three years, Kelly has hosted eight caucus events, including her most recent event May 3 in Matteson that focused on health and families. Topics focused on the health of newborns, a mother’s unexpected health challenges and support available in the community.
“For three years, the Caucus on Black Women and Girls has worked to specifically address the needs of African American women and girls, their families and their communities,” Kelly said. “As the recent CDC report shows, one of the most pressing issues facing black women is maternal mortality. Since introducing the MOMMAs Act two years ago, I’ve tried to use each caucus event and symposium to bring awareness to this issue.”
The Mothers and Offspring Mortality & Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA) Act is designed to:
- Expand care access to the full one-year postpartum period for mothers.
- Standardize data collection within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Ensure the sharing of best practices between practitioners and hospital systems.
- Establish and enforce national emergency obstetric protocols.
- Improve access to culturally-competent care.
The Caucus on Black Women and Girls has also held hearings in New York, Seattle and Washington. Kelly said more events on maternal mortality are scheduled for the summer.