The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act on Monday, July 27. Introduced by Frederica S. Wilson, the act will establish a 19-member commission examining the social disparities that disproportionately affect Black males in America.
“I am elated that this legislation, which I have been fighting for several years to pass, is now poised to become national law,” Wilson said. “The commission will review police brutality, gun violence, fatherhood, recruiting and training Black male teachers, and even sneakers, which play an important role in the lives of black boys. Welfare reform and the 1994 crime bill, which includes the controversial three strikes provision and harsh sentencing guidelines, also will be revisited.”
The Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act establishes a permanent, bipartisan commission within the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Its 19 members will include congressional lawmakers, executive branch appointees, issue experts, activists, and other stakeholders who will examine social disparities affecting Black men and boys in America.
“These federal policies left a devastating impact on Black men and boys in America. The commission’s underlying goal is to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and to better understand and eventually eliminate the educational and social chasms that have made it extraordinarily difficult for black males to become upwardly mobile,” Wilson said.
Based on its findings, the commission will issue policy recommendations to Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. The bipartisan, bicameral Caucus on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, which Congresswoman Wilson founded and co-chairs, will craft legislation to implement those recommendations.
The legislation is cosponsored by more than 200 members of Congress and has been endorsed by more than 20 renowned civil rights leaders and organizations, including Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, actor Omari Hardwick, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Council of the Great City Schools, Teach for America, the National Football League, Reform Alliance, Teach for America, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc.
“America is undergoing a transformative movement, as we confront and combat the racial injustice and police brutality that are killing hundreds of black Americans, particularly black men and boys,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “Today, the Democratic House will advance our drumbeat of action to achieve justice by passing H.R.1636 to establish a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, led by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson: a warrior for justice on behalf of the voiceless and vulnerable. This commission will be a critical force for acknowledging the institutional racism that black men and boys face every day in America – and then to working to end it.”
The Senate unanimously passed a companion bill on June 25.