July 22, 2019

Harris, Rubio, Booker Introduce Legislation to Establish Commission Devoted to Uplifting Black Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced legislation to establish the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys. The Commission would be housed within the United States Commission on Civil Rights’ Office and would recommend policies to improve current government programs. U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) introduced companion legislation (H.R. 1636) in the House.

“We must speak truth that slavery and our country’s long history of institutional racism continue to cause great pain and inequality toward communities of color—particularly Black males,” Harris said. “This bipartisan commission is just the start of a long overdue effort to confront the negative treatment Black men and boys face every day in America. I am proud to support.”

Specifically, the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act establishes a commission to recommend policies to improve upon, or augment, current government programs. The Commission, consisting of 19 members, will include bipartisan Members of Congress, federal agency experts, and appointed subject issue area experts. The Commission will investigate potential civil rights violations affecting black males and study the disparities they experience in education, criminal justice, health, employment, fatherhood, mentorship and violence. The Commission will be responsible for producing an annual report to address the current conditions affecting black men and boys and make recommendations to improve the social conditions and provide vital guidance for Congress on effective strategies to reduce the racial disparities in education, criminal justice, health and employment. The report will be submitted to the President, Congress, members of the President’s Cabinet, and the chairs of the appropriate committees of jurisdiction, and be publicly available online on a centralized Federal website. The bill does not authorize any appropriations, and members of the Commission serve without compensation.