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Robin L. Kelly, Brian Fitzpatrick, protect black women and girls act, task force,

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In February, Pennsylvania Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick teamed up with Illinois Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (IL-2), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and several other officials to re-introduce the bipartisan Protect Black Women and Girls Act. The legislation was first introduced in 2021.

If passed, the bill would create an Interagency Task Force to examine the circumstances and encounters of Black women and girls across various sectors including education, economic development, healthcare, labor and employment, housing, justice and civil rights. The goal is to advocate for community-driven approaches to alleviate and tackle harm, ensure accountability, and analyze the societal impacts on Black women and girls.

As stated in a press release, the bill’s primary focus lies in pinpointing and evaluating the effectiveness of policies and programs aimed at enhancing outcomes for Black women and girls across federal, state and local levels. Concurrently, it aims to devise an action plan geared towards enhancing these programs for the betterment of both communities.

If enacted, members of the Protect Black Women and Girls task force would have the ability to submit recommendations to Congress, the president and each state or local government on policies, practices, programs and incentives that should be adopted to improve program standards and outcomes.

One of the areas that will be assessed is the ongoing maternal health crisis that continues to negatively impact Black women. Currently, Black women die from pregnancy-related complications at three times the rate of their white and non-Hispanic counterparts. Pay disparities in the workforce are also a constant barrier for Black women. The task force would try to find and uncover ways to combat this problem.

“For every U.S. dollar that a white man earns in the United States, Black women are paid 67 cents,” a press release from Brian Fitzpatrick’s office noted.

Presently, the Protect Black Women and Girls Act has garnered backing from more than a dozen co-sponsors, including Texas Representative Al Green and Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley among others.

“For far too long, Black women and girls have faced disproportionate inequities in education, health care, housing, and economic development,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation to establish an interagency task force aimed at improving outcomes and livelihoods of Black women and girls across the country.”

Congresswoman Kelly echoed a similar sentiment.

“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,” she said.

Kelly added, “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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