Is Finding a Good Man the Biggest Policy Issue Facing Black Women?
See what the most powerful black women in America have to say
During the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the most influential people of color in government convene to address America’s most pressing policy issues, with particular focus on issues impacting communities of color. While the impact of the economic crisis on black men has begun to receive increasing attention from policymakers and the media, women of color—many of who have become heads of their households—face their own unique challenges. While at the ALC, Loop 21 interviewed some of the most influential black women in America on what they consider the most important policy issue facing black women, and what they would like to see the federal government do to address that issue. From the economy, to finding quality partners, their answers are below.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD)
“I think creating jobs and opportunity for the 21st century for girls and women is so important and especially for black women. We need to make sure that we have the skills it’s going to take to be successful in this century and some of those skills may not be ones we have to day and I think it’s up to our federal government to assist our states and entrepreneurs to make those opportunities available.”
Debra Lee, President and CEO, BET
“I have to say the most important issue facing everyone right now is jobs and getting this economy working again and until we get that done it’s hard to separate issues from women’s from men issues—we’re all in this together. So I know the President and Congress are focused on, we’ve got to get this jobs bill passed.”
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
“I think the issue of family matters. We have a void of African-American men, men who are on the same status as black women. I think it’s because of our education system and the absence of fathers in homes where we lose so many of our African-Americans to prisons, jails and then women go through college and attain academic success and then can’t find a partner in life and I think it’s an issue that the community needs to address. They need to make sure that these young men have real choices. They have taken all of our vocational problems out of schools and everyone is on the same track to college and that’s unrealistic."
Constance White, Editor-in-Chief, ESSENCE Magazine
“I think quite clearly the most important policy issue facing black women at the moment is the economy. That relates to jobs. It relates to real estate. So many black women invested their wealth in housing in the boom years and it also relates to entrepreneurship. Black women are the fastest growing group in terms of owning their own businesses. So anything that can spur the economy to help households and black women do better is at the forefront and second to that is education. I’d like to see more job creation. More relief for housing because we know that so many black women became homeowners at a larger group than others during the boom years.”
Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA)
“We have to address the economy before we do anything else but my focus has been addressing kids in the foster care system and I think that impacts our community in so many ways because so many African-American women when they’re older end up caring for anther generation of kids. We are looking at passing comprehensive legislation that will improve the foster care system with particular focus on the grandmoms and relatives that are caring for kids that typically get no support.”
Keli Goff is Loop 21's Senior Contributor. For more on her visit KeliGoff.com