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Pres. Biden speaks to members of Congress

Black women leaders applaud ‘American Families Plan’

Statement by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell

WASHINGTON — Tonight, President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress, officially announcing his “American Families Plan.” Totaling $1.8 trillion, the package will invest in childcare, paid family leave, education, and other supports for families. Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement in response to the proposal and the president’s address:

“With Vice President Harris and Speaker Pelosi looking on from the dais, a historical moment in itself, President Biden stood before socially-distanced Members to make his first address to a joint session of Congress. Delivering a message focused on unity and hope for the future, it was a stark contrast to his predecessor.

“In Our Own Voice commends President Biden for promoting policies that protect and support our human and civil rights. We applauded him when he told LGBTQ young people that he has their back — a sentiment that we should all share.

“As the pandemic raged under the last administration, Black women’s organizations stepped up to provide financial assistance for food, diapers, menstrual products, prescriptions for kids and rent because the government would not act. That changed when President Biden took office. The Biden-Harris administration moved quickly to pass a massive recovery bill — immediately getting relief to our families and communities.

“Tonight, President Biden officially announced the ‘American Families Plan,’ an historic investment in programs to address racial disparities, including initiatives particularly important for Black women and our families. With an unprecedented commitment to childcare and paid family leave, the president’s plan will provide important support for Black working women, who face barriers due to the double oppression of racism and sexism in the workplace. Employment data were already worse for Black people when the pandemic struck. Recent jobs recovery has lagged for Black women — leaving us to continue to shoulder the burden.

“The ‘American Family Plan’ provides the support that Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive individuals and our families need. The pandemic exacerbated an already existing childcare crisis, one that has been particularly onerous for Black women who are paid less than their white counterparts, making quality childcare even harder to find and afford. The ‘American Family Plan’ will make an unprecedented investment in childcare, make quality childcare more affordable and accessible for Black families.

“Similarly, the ‘American Jobs Plan’ will also invest in repairing our crumbling infrastructure — roads, bridges, airports and broadband. But the president was clear that America’s infrastructure includes investments in people — education, training, jobs and families. One in ten Black workers and one in eleven Latinx workers have faced unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis. As more Americans rejoin the workforce or seek out new opportunities in a changing economy, there is a greater need for skills development opportunities for all workers.

“We demand immediate steps from Congress to put the plan in action now.”

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