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Brown and Williams on how to address disparities affecting Black women

Reps. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) and Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) joined us for a conversation Tuesday on the disparities affecting Black women and how to address them. The discussion covered the news of the day as well as how to help women access capital, address maternal health, confront the childcare crisis and more.

MSNBC host Symone Sanders-Townsend co-moderated the conversation with Punchbowl News CEO Anna Palmer as part of our Uplifting Black Women series with Goldman Sachs.

The two lawmakers had just voted on the House floor to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, a first — but tricky— victory for newly-minted Speaker Mike Johnson.

Government funding: Williams said supporting the CR wasn’t about “bailing out Republicans” but putting people first.

“House Democrats have always said that the only path forward is a bipartisan one, and working together, we will always put people over politics and that’s exactly what we did today,” she said.

As we reported this morning, the House passed the CR last night with mostly Democratic votes. The Senate could take up the bill as soon as today.

2024 elections: Asked about the prospects for Democrats and President Joe Biden in the 2024 elections, Brown acknowledged the president’s polling numbers are scary.

“But what I will say is that polling has never been favorable for Joe Biden,” she said. But, Brown added, “when the polls have Joe Biden out, we show them that they don’t know how to count.”

Brown said Democrats are focused on talking with people about Biden’s policy wins and how they’re changing lives.

Closing the racial wealth gap: Both Williams and Brown called for action to help Black women earn more, access capital, build generational wealth and be able to save for retirement.

Williams touted her legislation, The Clean Slate Act, that would allow people who have gone through student loan rehabilitation to have that cleared from their credit report so that they can more easily access capital.

After that, Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, joined us for a fireside chat on how to address the challenges Black women face.

Black women’s impact: Campbell highlighted the fact that Black women are a powerful voting bloc that can influence policy and change election outcomes.

But she warned that a recognition of Black women’s power has led to renewed attacks on their rights and opportunities, including through recent Supreme Court rulings.

“So the secret is out who we are,” Campbell, who is also the convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, said. “And so there are people who want to roll that back so we have to fight… to protect those and expand those gains.”

Campbell called on Black women to show up in large numbers and influence others to vote in the next elections.

Follow this link to watch the full recording.

— Elvina Nawaguna

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