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Report: 'Center' Black Women to Build Economic Justice

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Wednesday, July 6, 2022   

As states ban abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, women's advocates in New York and beyond are raising awareness of the outsized impact these policies will have on Black women -- and they're outlining a framework for economic and health justice moving forward.

The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls has created a legislative agenda for putting Black women at the center of these policy discussions, to address their long-standing economic barriers.

Azza Altiraifi, senior policy manager for the group Liberation in a Generation, co-chaired the working group that put together the report and said dismantling every structure of oppression is necessary to create collective economic prosperity, and to strengthen democracy.

"It is futile to singularly focus on just closing racial gaps, whether it's wealth or health or housing or education," Altiraifi said, "unless they are also willing to uproot and dismantle the primary causes of those inequities in the first place."

The report relied on the intersectional "Black Women Best" framework coined by Janelle Jones, the first Black woman to serve as chief economist in the Department of Labor. Altiraifi said it builds on a rich history of Black women's feminist scholarship, and includes ties to disability, reproductive and economic justice.

Along with centering Black women, Altiraifi said it's important to follow their leadership on these issues that have affected them disproportionately, adding that in the post-Roe landscape, advocates will be looking to the networks of abortion care that have been built by Black women over time.

"Black women have, in the face of such organized abandonment - both historically and presently - created their own systems, networks of care and community support to meet each other's needs," Altiraifi said, "at a time and in places where the state was failing to do so."

The report pointed to such policies as guaranteed income that have proved to help reduce economic disparities. Members of the congressional caucus, including U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., also have introduced a resolution encouraging their colleagues to follow the blueprint from the Black Women Best report.

Disclosure: Liberation in a Generation contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Housing/Homelessness, Poverty Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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