WASHINGTON – The Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Congressmember Karen Bass (D-CA), delivered the below remarks at the Democratic Women’s Working Group’s State of Our Union press conference.
Remarks as delivered:
I want to thank Congresswoman Lawrence and Congresswoman Frankel, for their leadership and the Democratic Women’s Working Group for putting this together.
I’m here to talk about the state of the Black woman in this country.
The state of our paychecks is unequal.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Black women in the United States are typically paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to a white man.
But instead of creating job programs or investing in raising wages, what does the Trump administration do about it? Trump signs a tax scam guaranteed to benefit only the richest Americans with a recycled promise of trickledown that we’ve been waiting on since the 1980s.
The state of our health is not well.
Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death. The percentage of Black women that die in child birth is higher than most developed countries, if not any developed country on the planet. We’re more likely to have heart disease or diabetes as well.
But instead of investing in our health, what does the Trump administration do about it? Not only does he push a bill to take away health coverage from millions of Americans, he continues to try to sabotage the Affordable Care Act via death by a million cuts.
The state of our freedom is under attack.
The incarceration rate for Black women has increased 800% over the last 20 years. At every level — how women get involved in the criminal justice system, what happens to them while they’re incarcerated, and what happens when they get out — our criminal justice system lags behind in modernizing and humanizing the way it treats in all women, but especially Black women given the disproportionate numbers.
The state of our pay, the state of our health and the state of our freedom, unfortunately there’s not much good news.
But the state of our voice? The state of our voice is powerful.
The administration saw it in November 2017 when Alabama sent Doug Jones to Washington, DC. The Senator from Alabama was elected because of the support of Black women. The administration saw it in November of 2018 when we took back the House, when we watched history made as the first and second time a woman in the House of Representatives was Speaker –Nancy Pelosi.
And you know what? He hasn’t figured out how to deal with that situation at all.
But the power of our voice is clear. We will hear the power tonight, the woman who I believe was elected as the Governor of Georgia, when she delivers her inspirational message, Stacey Abrams.
We know the administration will not be able to resist an attack afterwards. He attacks because basically he is afraid of the power he sees in our voice.
But whenever we are faced with attacks, we know, we will rise.