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Kelly cosponsors bipartisan Protect Black Women and Girls Act

Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (D-IL) re-introduced on Wednesday, Feb. 14, the bipartisan Protect Black Women and Girls Act. She was joined by Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

The bill would establish an Interagency 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, to promote community-based methods for mitigating and addressing harm and ensuring accountability and to study societal effects on Black women and girls.

The Protect Black Women and Girls Act was introduced by Kelly, Clarke, Watson Coleman, and Fitzpatrick in 2021, although it did not advance to a vote at that time.

“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. 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,” Kelly said. “The Protect Black Women and Girls Act acknowledges that justice requires a holistic approach. This legislation commits our government to improving the education, healthcare, economic opportunity, and civil rights available to American Black women and girls. I am proud to introduce the Protect Black Women and Girls Act alongside my Caucus on Black Women and Girls Co-Chairs and Congressman Fitzpatrick.”

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While the data collected on the experiences and conditions of Black women and girls is often insufficient and incomplete, the representatives believe the following to be true:

  • Black women die from pregnancy-related complications at three times the rate of their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
  • For every dollar that a white man earns in the United States, Black women are paid 67 cents.
  • Sixty percent of Black girls experience sexual assault before they reach adulthood.
  • In comparison to white girls, Black school-aged girls are four times more likely to be arrested at school and five times more likely to be transferred to another school for disciplinary reasons.

The task force would be responsible for:

  • Identifying and assessing the efficacy of policies and programs at the federal, state, and local levels designed to improve outcomes for Black women and girls.
  • Making recommendations for improving these policies and programs.
  • Covering issues involving Black women and girls in education, economic development, health care, justice, civil rights, and housing. 
  • Submitting recommendations to Congress, the President, and each state or local government on policies, practices, programs, and incentives that should be adopted to improve their outcomes.

It would also direct the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to conduct a study and collect data on the effects of specified economic, health, criminal justice, and social service factors on Black women and girls.

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