Showing posts with label Re. Karen Bass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Re. Karen Bass. Show all posts

Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Congressional Black Caucus Calls for Racial Data Reporting for COVID-19

In a letter sent by the Congressional Black Caucus on April 7 to Robert Redfield, M.D., Director for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Congressional Black Caucus is calling for immediate racial data reporting for COVID-19 in every state, amidst rising trends in infections and mortality of Black people with coronavirus. To date, only nine states and the District of Columbia have released data based on race, which represents less than 20% of the country. With the limited data of coronavirus deaths out of cities and states across the nation such as Milwaukee (73%), Chicago (67%), Louisiana (70%), D.C. (58%) it is already evident that the death rates are disproportionate to the Black population in these areas hardest hit. We need full disclosure of racial data to identify and prioritize the areas of greatest impact.

In the letter, the Congressional Black Caucus urges the CDC to prioritize the collection and reporting of vital public health data which will include race and risk factors. With this information, Congress and the Administration must work together to prioritize all efforts to ensure every person in America has equitable access to COVID-19 testing and treatment regardless of their race or ethnic background.

“Healthcare disparities in our country have been a long standing issue and concern for the Congressional Black Caucus. The spread of the coronavirus has compounded these issues, leaving Black people even more vulnerable. We need to urgently address these disparities with a targeted response to our community,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The spread and outcome of COVID-19 in the United States has simply brought the issues of healthcare disparities to the forefront of national attention. But it did not catch us by surprise. The Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Brainstrust, Chaired by Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-20), focuses on identifying the areas of grave concern as it relates to health and healthcare for Black people and advocating for equitable legislative responses.

“Obtaining the data from every state in America is critical to a targeted response that ensures ample resources, including funding and testing, are deployed to the communities hardest hit. The data we are seeing from the few states that are reporting shows that Black people are the most vulnerable and the distribution of resources must reflect this. Without this data, we will continue to risk the lives of people in this country,” said Rep. Robin Kelly, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Braintrust.

What we are seeing is more than just an overstretched healthcare system, but instead the result of years of systemic racism, disenfranchisement, and oppression of Black people in America. The reason more Blacks are dying from COVID-19 is a result of a history of structural racism, environmental injustice, income inequality, and the lack of resources in Black communities, which have led to the prominence of health related risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension. With this data along with targeted testing and funding the CBC is confident this will be a more effective approach to overcoming this health crisis in our community and saving Black lives


Wednesday, March 20, 2019


BET News presents “ AMERICAN INJUSTICE: A BET TOWN HALL.” Hosted and moderated by award-winning broadcast journalist, Soledad O’Brien, this critical and timely primetime special brings together some of the most influential voices in Congress to explore the future of criminal justice reform in America. The panel of political heavyweights includes presidential candidates Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris, and other key members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) including Rep. Karen Bass (CBC Chair), and Rep. Val Demings. This one-hour special speaks to the stark racial disparities that plague America’s criminal justice system and offers solutions. The town hall event airs Sunday, March 24 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on BET.

“BET Networks is committed to bringing conversations and stories of systemic issues of race and justice across our nation to light through platforms like our powerful ‘Finding Justice’ series, our upcoming leadership symposium and this important ‘American Injustice’ town hall conversation in partnership with members of the Congressional Black Caucus,” said Scott Mills, President of BET Networks. “We are taking this on in a way no other brand and network can. We look forward to taking the conversation beyond our screens and into action as we work towards addressing and telling the untold stories of transgressions to Black Americans.”

In America there are currently over 2 million people locked up in jail or prison and more than 4 million under correctional supervision, and America’s crisis of mass incarceration disproportionately impacts black and brown communities. In December, President Trump signed into law the “First Step Act” aimed at reforming some of the sentencing disparities in America’s Criminal justice system. While the bill is a “first step” toward reform, there is still much more work to be done.

In addition to the “First Step Act,” this BET Town Hall examines several other issues in the Criminal Justice system still in urgent need of reform including juvenile justice and the school-to-prison pipeline, the cash bail system that too often preys on low-income minorities and a probation/parole system that in too many cases works as a system to re-incarcerate offenders. This BET News special addresses these issues and offers tools to empower people to advocate for criminal justice reform at the local level, in their communities. To drive audience engagement and give context to the issues discussed, clips of BET’s original docuseries “Finding Justice” will be included throughout the special.

Tune in Sunday, March 24 starting at 8:00 PM ET to a new episode of “Finding Justice” focusing on voter suppression, followed by “AMERICAN INJUSTICE: A BET TOWN HALL,” at 9:00 PM ET/PT and be part of this crucial conversation by socializing your thoughts with the hashtag #FindingJusticeBET