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.
Although Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday will not be nationally observed until tomorrow, January 16, we want to honor King today as well, on his actual day of birth.
To learn more about this monumental agent of political and social change, go to biography.com, and to listen to a speech of his more relevant today than ever, check out this concluding segment from 1967’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” above.
Some stirring quotes from this speech of Dr. King’s include:
… I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.
And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.
In a recent interview withBlack Enterprise, feminist journalist and activist Gloria Steinem had some refreshing things to say about Black women’s progressive history in the fight for gender equality.
“I thought that [Black women] invented the feminist movement…I learned feminism disproportionately from Black women. ”
Steinem explained that in earlier years, surveys showed that African American women were twice as vocal and biased towards feminist issues and beliefs as their White counterparts. She also spoke on her personal practice of giving the floor to other young women (whether or not they self-identify as feminists) to address concerns for people of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. If she is challenged by younger Black women who say that feminism doesn’t speak to them, Steinem says:
“I don’t say anything. I listen because the point is that we help each other to get dignity and autonomy and freedom. We’re here to help each other.”
Steinem has a history of working with Black feminists. In 1972, Steinem founded Ms. Magazine with Dorothy Pitman-Hughes, the author and child welfare advocate. Steinem was also affiliated with the deceased lawyer Flo Kennedy and worked alongside Alice Walker, making Walker one of the earliest Black editors at Ms.
The famous feminist spoke on the issues of police brutality as well, noting the importance of equally employing women in the police force to calm racially tense situations.
“[W]e haven’t been raise with our masculinity to prove. All the studies show that if a woman cop arrives on the scene, she de-escalates the situation by her presence and a man cop escalates. So while we’re talking as we should about cops looking like the community, how come we don’t say they should be half women?”
For years, the so-called National Organization for Marriage, the anti-gay group at the helm of many campaigns opposing the freedom to marry, has made it their focus to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks,” a strategy specifically outlined in a series of classified documents that came to light earlier this year. The organization has tried desperately to pit minority group against minority group in its efforts to push its agenda.
But in recent months, we’ve seen time and time again that NOM’s efforts are failing. African-American support for the freedom to marry is at an all-time high, and it continues to increase steadily as we approach the November 6 election. Our first African-American president also became the first sitting president to announce his support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. And the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, adopted an official resolution in favor of the freedom to marry back in May of this year.