Norton Says Bill to Establish an Official Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Build​s on Decades of Efforts

Jul 28, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today applauded House passage yesterday of the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, which builds on her D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys, established almost 20 years ago.  The bill, which Norton cosponsored, now heads to the president’s desk. 

 

Norton said that this bill takes the issues facing Black men and boys to the next level, establishing government responsibility for the first time.  The bill creates a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys within the United States Commission on Civil Rights that will have responsibility for addressing important issues, such as disparities in employment and incarceration rates for African-American men and boys.  

 

“The bill mandates government action to help improve the condition of African-American men and boys for the first time,” Norton said. “I hope that the record of testimony from the D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys and the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys can assist the official commission in seeking legislation.  Both commissions are operating and will continue to do so.” 

 

As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys along with Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL), Norton has pressed Congress and the executive branch to take more responsibility for addressing disparities facing Black men and boys.  The caucus has created a platform for public dialogue among leaders, legislators and individuals most impacted by the daily realities of Black males in the U.S.    

 

In 2001, Norton established the D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys. That commission has focused the D.C. community on discussion and action on difficult and controversial issues that affect Black men, such as incarceration. 

 

The success and demand following the establishment of the D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys led Norton to establish, along with Davis, the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys in 2013, with the aim of bringing matters affecting African-American men and boys to the forefront of congressional and national public attention in order to address the myriad issues facing Black males. 

 

 

Norton’s statement for the congressional record on the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act follows:  

 

 

I am a cosponsor of the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act (H.R. 1636), which passed the House on July 27, 2020.  The social disparities that impact Black men and boys have long needed special attention.  In light of these challenges and the demand for community-based solutions, I established the first D.C. Commission on Black Men and Boys in 2001 to educate Members of Congress and staff on issues and problems Black men and boys face and to support ideas and community initiatives that improve their quality of life.   

 

This commission stoked so much interest in Congress that in 2013, Congressman Danny Davis and I established the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys, which seeks to bring the myriad issues facing African-American men and boys to the forefront of congressional and public attention. 

 

The Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act would create government responsibility for the first time.  It would create a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys within the United States Commission on Civil Rights that would have responsibility for addressing important issues, such as disparities in employment and incarceration rates for African-American men and boys. 

 

When Members are able to meet once COVID-19 subsides, our Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys has called for a Caucus hearing to hear directly from the African-American community on the state of justice in America for African-American men and boys following the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by white police officers and Ahmaud Arbery, an African-American jogger killed by two armed white men in Georgia.  In both cases videos exposed attacks, marking a new social media era for seeking racial justice in real time.  The bill I am supporting today would help further address these important issues. 

 

I stand in strong support of the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act because it makes improving conditions for Black men and boys an official government responsibility.   

 

###