Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif, was elected CBC chair, and according to her website, the Caucus will also chair five full House Committees in addition to 28 House Subcommittees.
The caucus includes elected officials from both the House and Senate, and since its establishment in 1971, the CBC has been committed to using the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the federal government to ensure that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
As part of this commitment, the CBC has fought to address critical issues such as voting rights, criminal justice reform, equal access to quality education.
Legendary actress Cicely Tyson is adding more awards to her repertoire.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) recently announced that the 91-year-old actress will be a recipient of a lifetime achievement award in the arts. Tyson will also be joined by “Being Mary Jane” actor Richard Roundtree and music icon Dionne Warwick during the foundation’s 20th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts.
“With a lifetime of entertaining and educating us, this year’s honorees have also distinguished themselves as remarkable leaders and passionate advocates for the arts and arts education,” said CBCF president and CEO A. Shuanise Washington in a press release.
“Their outstanding contributions and continuing commitment to the arts make them ideal to help elevate the visibility of the CBC Spouses Visual and Performance Arts Scholarship Program. The awards are conferred on artists whose legacy includes not only extraordinary works but a commitment to cultivating future generations of artists.”
The awards ceremony, which will take place Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C., is organized in cooperation with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Spouses Visual and Performance Arts Scholarship program, Shadow and Act noted.
The House of Cards and How To Get Away With Murder guest star is no stranger to recognition.
During Tyson’s illustrious 65-year career, she has won an Emmy, a Tony, a SAG and a Drama Desk Award for her work in television, film and on and Off-Broadway. She has also been nominated for a Golden Globe, Academy Award and BAFTA to name a few. And just recently, it was announced that the American Theatre Wing will honor Tyson at its annual Gala September 26 at The Plaza Hotel.
President Barack Obama pressed on Saturday night for a greater focus on helping black women who are more likely to be stuck in minimum wage jobs, have higher rates of illness and face higher rates of incarceration than other women.
His speech delivered to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual gala was short on hard policy prescriptions aimed directly at black women. Rather Obama said that many of the proposals that his administration has championed, such as raising the minimum wage and criminal justice reform, would help close the gap between black women and their peers.
The president briefly acknowledged Hillary Clinton, his former Secretary of State who was in the audience and is campaigning for the presidency. Obama called her “outstanding” and noted that she could relate to first lady Michelle Obama’s concerns over the pay gap that women face compared to their male counterparts.
“We are going to have to close those economic gaps,” Obama said.
Obama spent a significant portion of his remarks making the case for criminal justice reform, which has become a core part of his agenda during his remaining days in office. His push to pare back the prison population by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders has garnered some Republican support, but still faces a tough odds in Congress.
Obama, spurred by a series of high profile cases of apparent police abuse, has spoken far more forcefully in recent months about the impact of racial bias on policing. He bristled, though, at some media depictions that suggested that he was anti-law enforcement.
“We appreciate them and we love them,” Obama said of police officers. “They deserve our respect. I just want to repeat that because somehow this never gets on television. There is no contradiction between caring about our law enforcement officers and making sure the laws are applied fairly.”
He paused and looked out at the crowd. “Hope I am making that clear,” he said. “I hope I am making that clear.”
The focus of his remarks, though, was on helping black women. Black women are one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies and consistently vote at higher rates in national elections than any other demographic group. In 2012, they turned out at a rate of 70 percent for the presidential election and were crucial to Obama’s victories in key states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
Obama described the important and too often anonymous role that black women played during the civil rights movement and praised the recent push to put a black woman’s picture on the $10 bill. But he insisted that such symbolic actions fell short of what was needed. “We’ve got to make sure they are getting some ten dollar bills,” he said, “that they are getting paid properly.”
Obama made the case for better job training and more mentorship programs to encourage women of color to pursue careers in math and science. He noted that his wife often worried that she would be labeled too assertive or “too angry” as she pursued her career. His primary focus, though, was on black women who were struggling to get by on minimum wage salaries or trying to overcome abuse.
The president noted that the incarceration rate for black women is twice that of white women and described a “sinister sexual abuse to prison pipeline” in which traumatized women went on to commit crimes.
He called for more effort to stop violence and abuse against women “in every community and on every campus.”
Hundreds gathered in the nation’s capital Tuesday morning for the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) swearing-in ceremony for both newly elected and current members of the 114th Congress. Forty-six African-American men and women took oath during the ceremony, making it the largest group of representatives to be sworn in to the CBC. One of the 46 was Republican Rep. Mia Love, who became the first Black female Republican in Congress.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield will lead the CBC as chairman. He plans on tackling poverty and other issues that have plagued the African-American community. “As we stand here now on the dawn of a new Congress, the 114th Congress, we must tell the full story — for many Black Americans, they are not even close to realizing the American dream. Depending on where they live, an economic depression hangs over their head, and it is burdening their potential and the potential of their children.
Black America is in a state of emergency today as it was at the turn of the century,” he said during the ceremony. “There will be times when I will encourage the CBC to reach across the aisle and try to reach some bipartisan deals that will not make us feel good, but will move the needle in our communities and communities of color.”
Members of the 113th Congress’ Congressional Black Caucus
On Thursday the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation hosted a ceremonial swearing-in for the 113th Congress’ 42 CBC members.
Incoming chair Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio took the gavel from Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), and Judge Benita Y. Pearson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio administered a ceremonial oath of office to the members. In addition to the formalities, the event was focused on urgent reminders about the caucus’s historic and still necessary role as the self-appointed “conscience of the Congress.”
In her remarks, Chairwoman Fudge reaffirmed the group’s commitment to advocating for policies that are not only in the best interest of people of color but also protect America’s most vulnerable populations. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer each echoed these sentiments when they took to the podium to welcome new members and thank the caucus for its legacy of service.