In its early years, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) presented President Richard Nixon (R) with recommendations to eradicate racism, provide Black people with quality housing and ensure full Black engagement in goverment.
The CBC’s Black Declaration of Independence and Black Bill of Rights would later highlight jobs, foreign policy, education, housing, drugs, prison reform, public health, and voting rights as prominent issues.
More than half a century later, these issues have taken on a new life as conservatives have gone to significant lengths to reverse Black people’s legislative and judicial gains.
As more Black people pursue entrepreneurship, opposing forces even want to hinder progress in that arena, as seen in American Alliance for Equal Rights’ lawsuit against Black women-owned venture capital firm Fearless Fund.
That’s why the CBC has doubled down on rebuffing state and federal-level infringements on civil rights, all while centering Black economic prosperity in its long-term agenda.
During the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, economic empowerment will count among the bevy of topics discussed during forums. This comes amid nonfarm payroll reports showing an incremental rise in Black unemployment at a time when overall U.S. unemployment is declining.
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev. 4th District), chair of the CBC, told The Informer that following through on a Black economic agenda involves developing opportunities for workforce development and entrepreneurship in the United States, the Caribbean and Africa.
Horsford said it also means focusing on jurisdictions where Black people are disconnected from well-paying jobs.
He alluded to the CBC’s focus on government contracting, access to Small Business Administration tools and resources, and expanding access to venture capital.
“We understand that when you lift up Black people, you’ll lift up everyone,” Horsford said.
“We’ll highlight these areas while also talking about and pointing out the people and groups who are standing in the way of our freedoms, rights and democracy and help people know the power they have to push back on those efforts.”