WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Congresswomen Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Co-Chairs of the Caucus on Black Women and Girls, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the bipartisan Protect Black Women and Girls Act. This 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.

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The Protect Black Women and Girls Act was introduced by Rep. Kelly, Clarke, Watson Coleman, and Fitzpatrick in 2021.

“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,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “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.”

“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.”

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“I’m proud to stand with my fellow co-chairs Rep. Kelly and Rep. Clarke, in introducing this crucial piece of legislation,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). “The Protecting Black Women and Girls Act is an important step forward for addressing the root causes of the disproportionate challenges Black women and girls face. We must all work together in doing more for this nation’s Black women and girls to ensure they have equal opportunity to lead happy and prosperous lives.”

“Throughout our nation’s history, Black women have remained marginalized, overlooked, and underserved in communities across the country. The Protect Black Women and Girls Act represents a key step to, at long last, doing right by Black women in America. By establishing a Task Force to examine the conditions they confront and experiences they face, we will be taking critical action to fundamentally reassess the role Black women play in education, economic development, health care, housing, and more. Every American – including Black women – deserves the chance to create their own American Dream. Congresswoman Kelly’s legislation is a necessary measure towards delivering those opportunities to the women and girls who have too often been denied them,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

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

  • Black women die from pregnancy-related complications at 3 times the rate of their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
  • For every US dollar that a white man earns in the United States, Black women are paid 67 cents.
  • 60% of Black girls experience sexual assault before they reach adulthood.
  • In comparison to white girls, Black school-aged girls are 4x more likely to be arrested at school and 5x more likely to be transferred to another school for disciplinary reasons.

The Protect Black Women and Girls Act would establish an Interagency Task Force to examine the conditions and experiences of Black women and girls in the United States. This 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, and
  • 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.

Doing what is right for Black women and girls will require coordinated policy efforts and strategic federal attention. The Protect Black Women and Girls Act will help achieve these important goals.

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