Sacramento – Yesterday, the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) hosted an informational briefing on The State of California - 10 Years Later an update from former Speaker and CLBC Vice-Chair Congresswoman Karen Bass, who commissioned the report in 2008. CLBC members gathered to start the morning with reporters across the state answering questions on the subjects presented at today’s hearing. Topics included healthcare, education, voter engagement, and economics.
The State of Black California – 10 Years Later gives insight to the areas that Black Californians have progressed and the shines light on the areas where there is work to be done to eliminate disparities. Caucus Chairman, Assemblymember Chris Holden (AD- 41), said: “The CLBC’s mission is to make strides towards implementing strategies and solutions that strengthen our African American community and bring about greater opportunities - especially as it pertains to the issues we are discussing at the Capitol.”
Guest speakers, who served as subject matter experts, joined lawmakers for a healthy debate on The State of Black California. The takeaways were clear: we still have much work to do to achieve equity for all African Americans. The packed informational hearing shared how Black Californians earn less and are underperforming compared to other ethnic groups. Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (SD-30) of Los Angeles said: “Our students are missing out. We have to figure out as a Caucus and community what we can do collectively to support and make sure Black students are aware of the resources California has for them.”
There were quite a few striking revelations including the “Black Tax” where Blacks pay a premium for services and experience “allostatic loads” as described by Dr. Nicki King. Prof. Mark Harris, an economics panelist, found that lending to African Americans for small businesses has fallen by 75% and continues to decline. Additionally, since the passage of fair housing laws, we saw an increase in homeownership (50% of Blacks owned homes) but that has all been erased over the last 12 years. The proceedings were live-streamed and are available on the Caucus website and Facebook pages along with the presentations and reports.
CLBC concluded the day with a panel discussion from California Black Judges as well as a showing of the movie, Marshall: The story about a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. CLBC finishes this year’s Black History Month looking at the work we must do to move Blacks forward for a better California and America and “Reclaim our Influence.”