Members of the Black Women’s Roundtable recently convened its annual meeting to lobby against the passing of the Trump budget and the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, with the support of Black female members of the U.S. Congress.
On March 30, about 50 participants in the Black Women’s Roundtable conference gathered outside of the capitol to make their concerns known.
Melanie Campbell is the president and CEO of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation and convener of Black Women’s Roundtable. (Courtesy photo)
“We will be here all day today to talk about two issues.” Melanie Campbell, the president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable Public Network, said. “We are opposed to President Trump’s skinny budget and Neil Gorsuch becoming a justice on the Supreme Court because he is a danger to women’s health.”
The Roundtable released on March 29 a 72-page document entitled “Black Women in the U.S., 2017: Moving Our Agenda Forward in the Post-Obama Era” that served as the rallying cry for the organization’s 6th Annual “Women of Power” Summit that took place in the District and in Arlington, Va. In essence, the report detailed the challenges Black women face in health, human trafficking, the juvenile justice system, higher education, businesses and entrepreneurship and expanding political power.
The Roundtable has come to the Capitol Hill and lobbied lawmakers for years on issues dealing with funding women’s health programs, supporting reproductive rights, advocating on behalf of increasing educational opportunities for Black women and supporting presidential appointments that are sensitive to the needs of African-American women.
U.S. Reps. Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) joined the rally. Clarke said the “Trump budget is diametrically opposed to the advancement of Black women.”
“We would be in a state of siege if this budget is passed,” she said. “We have the power to address these issues and the document that you have presented will be used by the Congressional Black Caucus to resist the budget.”
Jackson-Lee said that Black women must step up in the interest of their families and communities.
“There is no greater time for African American women,” Jackson-Lee said. “Seniors in the sunset of their lives must be able to participate in Meals on Wheels and there must be funding for anti-violence and community development programs. The Trump budget is inhumane.”
Jackson-Lee urged the rally participants to go to their homes and engage “your governors, state legislators and local officials to speak to what is right.”
It was generally understood among the rally leaders and attendees that Gorsuch on the Supreme Court was unacceptable. Carol Joyner urged the participants to call their senators to stop Gorsuch.
“This is a Supreme Court nominee that has ruled that corporations are people,” she said.
Later that day, there was the Congressional Legislative Luncheon that was held at the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women and at the Crystal City hotel, there were plenary sessions on fighting for women’s rights, the media and health and healing.