CBC: Continuing the Legacy of Advocacy and Change

CBC: Continuing the Legacy of Advocacy and Change

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“The CBC was formed in 1971 because its founders understood that Black lives matter.  Black boys matter.  Black girls matter.  The Black family matters.  The Black church matters.  Black America in its totality matters.”

-CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield

As a little girl, I remember my great uncle Demps would always discuss black history and politics with me. He was fascinated with political giants like John Conyers, Shirley Chisholm, Charlie Rangel and Louis Stokes and their ability to join forces to create the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) back in 1971. Perhaps he was foreshadowing and preparing me for my career path, as I was fortunate enough to work for the CBC. One thing I learned from my great uncle about the CBC, aka the “Conscience of Congress,” was that they were greatly needed and instrumental in serving as the voice for America’s neglected citizens and helping to address their legislative concerns. The same way the CBC was needed back in 1971, it is greatly needed today as we tackle the same issues: voting rights, poverty, criminal justice reform, and education to name a few.

Last month, the largest class for the CBC in its 44-year history was sworn in with Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) taking the helm as the CBC’s leader for the 114th Congress. Currently, there are 46 members within the caucus hailing from 22 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands; and representing more than 30 million people. The CBC represents 23% of the House Democratic Caucus and 10% of the House of Representatives. Seven members hold ranking member full committee leadership positions from Oversight and Government Reform to Homeland Security.

As the CBC continues to grow in numbers and power, its members continue to advocate for our communities and make sure our voices are heard. For example, with the advocacy of Reps. Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and the HBCU community, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reversed changes to the PLUS Loan regulations that will help an additional 370,000 students across the county afford higher education.

Earlier this year, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and William Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-MO) introduced the Grand Jury Reform Act (H.R. 429), a bill that would require special prosecutors for all officer involved murder cases in light of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner decisions. Also this term, 11 CBC members traveled to Ferguson, Missouri to meet with young activists to not only support them but encourage them to engage in the political process. Rep. Andre Carson told the young activists, “You have the power to determine the outcome of your mayor, school board, sheriff, and city council. The world is watching Ferguson — and Ferguson will always have the full force and power of the CBC, the conscious of the U.S. Congress as allies.”

As we celebrate black history month and the legacy of the CBC, one thing is for sure, the CBC is here to fight for the future. CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield recently stated, “We are ready for these fights.  The fight for the future is not a black fight, a Democratic or Republican fight; it is a fight that all fair minded Americans should promote.  We need to use political means, policy and legal means, to reduce racial disparities and move closer to the day when all African Americans will benefit from fairness and justice and realize the American dream.”

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yes Black Lives Matter: From East to West and North to South, injustice is everywhere and corruption is being called the underlying cause of violent extremism, terrorism, bloodshed, conflicts, and social upheaval…New chief prosecutor defends International Criminal Court[ ICC]. Fatou Bensouda, who takes over at ICC next month, rejects view that court is ‘Pro-Western, Anti-African.[ Fatou Bensouda] is a Black African Woman from Gambia].Her predecessor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the controversial Luis Moreno-Ocampo who has been accused of applying” selective justice” to Africa…The decade-old court has sought justice for millions of victims in The Democratic Republic of The Congo, Uganda, The Central African Republican, Dafur in Sudan, Kenya, Libya and Ivory Coast, Bensouda said on Wednesday” We have done it with strong cooperation of African State Parties and we have benefited from the commitment and support of our partners within African Civil Society” She told the Open Forum Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.” However, this is unfortunately not the story relayed in the media. …Again and Again we hear criticism about so- called focus on Africa and about the court being an African court, having an African bias….Bensouda, 50 who has served as Moreno-Ocampo’s deputy:” With due respect, what offends me most when I hear criticisms about the so called African bias is how quick we are to focus on the words and propaganda of a few powerful, influentials and to forget about the millions o people that suffer from these crimes….Because all the victims are African victims…”Indeed, the greatest affront to victims of these brutal and unimaginable crimes…Women and Young Girls raped, Families Brutalised, Robbed of Everything, Entire Communities Terrorised and Shattered….Is to see these powerful individuals responsible for their sufferings trying to portray themselves as the victims of a pro-Western,Anti African Court….Such perceptions have been fuelled by a monoply of Africans names on the court’s most wanted list, including The Sudanese President, Omar al- Bashire, and The Ugandan Warlords Jeseph Kony….The ICC’s first conviction, in March, was of The Congolese Militia Leader Thomas Lubanga for recruiting and using Child Soldiers…..Last year The Country’s President Robert Mugabe told The Un General Assembly;” The Leaders of the powerful Western States guilty of International Crimes, like Bush and Blair, are routinely given the blind eye….Such selective justice has eroded the credibility of The ICC on The African Continent….Bensouda set out her vision in her speech on Wednesday: ”Real justice is not a pick and choose system. To be effective, to be just and to have a lasting impact, justice has to be guided soley by the law and the evidence;” Our focus is on indivual criminal behaviour against innocent victims. ” My focus is on Joseph Kony, on Bosco Ntaganda, on Ahmad Harun, on Omar al- Bashir….This is Real Justice and exactly How The Judicial System is Suppose to Work; The U.S. Should Take a Play out of This Playbook.

  2. I’m proud of the continuous strides that the CBC has made over the last 44 years. The times call for an increase in collaboration and strategy building within our communities nationwide. Very informative article! I’m positive there will be more policy changes to look forward to that will ultimately affect us all.

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