Capitol Hill is speckled with more than 400 congressional caucuses and member organizations — there’s a Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus, the Tuberculosis Elimination Caucus, and the Friends of Norway Caucus, to name a few. And, as of yesterday, you can add the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls to the mix. The caucus was spearheaded by Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman, Robin Kelly, and Yvette D. Clarke.
If you’re plucking your eighth-grade gov notes to remember the exact role of a caucus, here are the CliffsNotes: Caucuses are congressional membership organizations designed to drive specific legislation in Congress. “Black women and girls are disproportionately affected by myriad socioeconomic issues that diminish their quality of life and threaten the wellbeing of their families and communities,” explained co-founder Representative Kelly in a press release. “The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls gives Black women a seat at the table for the crucial discussion on the policies that impact them while also providing a framework for creating opportunities and eliminating barriers to success for Black women.”
A catalyst of the caucus’s launch was the #SheWoke Committee, which is a seven-member group of women leaders who petitioned Congress to create spaces to prioritize black women and girls. Sandra Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, is a member of the group and perhaps said it best: “We lift up all the Black women and girls who have lost their lives without press coverage, all the Black women and girls who are fighting for our collective liberation, and the Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, who responded in the way all elected officials should: with urgency.”