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New Report Examines State of Black Women, Path Forward in ‘Post-Obama’ Era

Kenrya Rankin/ Colorlines | 4/13/2017, midnight

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Sheena876, via Flickr Creative Commons

“The current polarized political climate requires us to find innovative ways to move our public policy agenda forward in our quest to empower Black women and their families to live their best lives.”

On Wednesday (March 29), the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (NCBCP) Black Women’s Roundtable released its fourth annual report on the state of the 23 million Black women living in America.

“Black Women in the U.S. 2017: Moving Our Agenda Forward in a Post-Obama Era” taps the opinions of more than 200,000 Black women to determine their “top equity priorities.” The Roundtable analyzed data from available sources and talked to Black women across the country via polls, town hall meetings and forums. The biggest takeaways from the listening tour and polls, as identified by the Roundtable, are:

There are large, untapped communities of motivated, passionate Black women leaders that are committed to advocating to improve conditions in their communities. They are seeking safe, collaborative spaces where they can work with others who share their values and respect their time and contributions. The Southern Region shows particularly untapped promise.

Black communities in the South are hard hit by more than a decade of public policy assaults including deep cuts in public programs, but these impacts are often ignored by the press, politicians and even many progressive coalitions. For example, Black women and their families are more likely to be negatively affected by funding cuts because as workers, they are disproportionately more likely to be employed in the public sector. Attacks on public workers, public benefits and civil rights are all examples where Black women are disproportionately targeted.

Although the South is hard hit by adverse public policies, it is also home to some of the most cutting edge, savvy organizing in the country.

The report features narratives that delve into the challenges facing Black women, complete with the stories of real people that illustrate how they face those those trials. It covers everything from health to human trafficking to education to entrepreneurship.

While past reports have focused on the current state of Black women, the latest version views the needs of the community as a map for future action. As report editor in chief Avis A. Jones-DeWeever writes: “We don’t merely highlight a variety of indicators related to the Black woman’s experience, instead we very purposefully lay out a path forward towards continued action on those issues that are most critical to our needs, even in the face of a very different political landscape.”

“The current polarized political climate requires us to find innovative ways to move our public policy agenda forward in our quest to empower Black women and their families to live their best lives,” Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of NCBCP said at an event marking the release of the study. “We plan to share these findings and recommendations with members of the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration.”