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New Congressional Initiative Will Tackle Racial Disparities

Working Group Founders Reps. Clarke and Kelly say first focus will be COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C.– A new initiative focused on race in America has made its way to Capitol Hill. The newly launched Racial Disparities Working Group will raise awareness and find solutions to racial inequity and is being led by Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Chair Robin Kelly (IL-02).

The working group is housed under the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction and addresses racial disparities within the health, communications, technology, energy, consumer protection and  environmental sectors. 

Clarke said: “People of color in America are disadvantaged every single day in countless ways, and yet the root causes are not always obvious nor are they clear how to fix. As founder of the newly-unveiled Racial Disparities Working Group we will focus on uncovering these causes and finding solutions to what can often be non-obvious reasons why Black and brown people are at a disadvantage compared to our white counterparts. Our country is ready for change–we are seeing it from coast to coast–and The Racial Disparities Working Group will help uncover reasons so we can bring forward real solutions for the racial inequality that America is hungry to fix.”

This collaborative Working Group will offer a slate of targeted, data-driven legislative strategies to improve outcomes for impacted populations by raising awareness and taking action through roundtables, virtual town halls, field hearings, briefings and more.

Kelly said: “COVID-19 has highlighted the harsh reality of racial health disparities and inequities in America. The formation of this working group is a long overdue step toward Congress recognizing, addressing and eliminating these disparities that have existed for too long.”

Currently as America continues to suffer from the COVID-19 global pandemic, The Racial Disparities Working Group’s first focus will be to study how and why COVID-19 has devastated communities of colors at higher rates than white communities. This task will include demographic data reporting & collection, the availability of resources like PPE and ventilators for health care centers serving minority and underserved communities (including community health centers and safety net hospitals), the physician shortage for minority communities and general medical staffing throughout communities. 

Representatives Clarke and Kelly are proud be joined by fellow working group members Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE At-Large), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29),Diana DeGette (CO-01), Mike Doyle (PA-18), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Darren Soto (FL-09) and  Paul Tonko (NY-20), with additional  members to follow.