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January 15, 2020

Rep. Pressley Hosts CBC Delegation for Historic Visit to Greater Boston

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BOSTON – This past weekend, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) welcomed Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA), and Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-NJ), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Jahana Hayes (D-CT) to the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District for the Congressional Black Caucus’s (CBC) first ever visit to the Commonwealth Massachusetts.

The members of the CBC delegation that traveled to Massachusetts are all history-makers in their own right:

  • Congresswoman Pressley made history in 2018 when she was elected as the first Black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress.
  • CBC Chairwoman Bass was the first Black woman to serve as the Speaker for the California Assembly.
  • Congresswoman Lee is the only Black woman currently serving in Democratic Leadership for the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as Co-Chair of the Policy and Steering Committee.
  • Congresswoman Moore is the first Black person elected to Congress from the State of Wisconsin.
  • Congresswoman Watson-Coleman was the first Black woman to serve as Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly.
  • Congresswoman Omar is the first Somali-American Member of Congress.
  • Congresswoman Hayes is the first Black woman and the first Black Democrat to ever represent the state of Connecticut in Congress.

The visit was part of the CBC’s “State of Black America” series and included events throughout the Massachusetts 7th that amplified the contributions, opportunities, and challenges faced by the Black community in the 7th district and across the country. Over the course of the weekend, the CBC delegation sat down to discuss criminal legal reform with the African American Coalition Committee – an advocacy group operated by men incarcerated at Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk; hosted a panel on economic justice, which brought together entrepreneurs, community and business leaders to discuss improving access to Boston’s economic opportunities for Black and Brown communities; and a townhall discussion on the issue of criminalization and miseducation of Black girls and ending the school “pushout” crisis.

Founded in 1971, the Congressional Black Caucus has often been referred to as the ‘conscious of the Congress’ and has led on critical issues of equity, opportunity, and innovation as it pertains to Black Americans. As part of the “State of Black America” series, the CBC previously visited Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; and Brooklyn, New York.

“The Massachusetts 7th is one of the most diverse and unequal districts in our country, and in many ways, the experiences of Black Americans in our district represent those of Black Americans across our country,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “We know that when America gets sick, Black people get pneumonia and the CBC’s role in combating hate, racial inequality, and civil injustice remains as important as ever. As the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, I was honored to share the rich culture and history of the 7th with CBC colleagues from around the nation, and to engage in serious conversations about the significant challenges faced by the Black community.”

“The Congressional Black Caucus began the State of Black America tour last year to meet people where they are – in their neighborhoods and their communities – to hear firsthand how the Caucus can continue to best serve their needs. Policy that ignores the people will never succeed,” said Chairwoman Bass. “I want to thank Congresswoman Pressley for hosting us in her home for such a historic visit to the 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts.”

“It was my honor to join Congresswoman Pressley in the Massachusetts 7th District as a part of the ‘State of Black America Series,’” said Congresswoman Lee. “We are in a pivotal time in history for Black Americans and we must be more determined than ever to fight for justice — to stand up to institutional racism, ensure economic prosperity is shared by all, and insist that our children and grandchildren grow up in a world more fair and just. In Boston, we were able to engage in meaningful conversations about the contributions, opportunities, and challenges faced by the Black community in the 7th district and around the nation.”

“Pursuing justice for our most marginalized means addressing the systemic flaws that close doors of opportunity for Black and brown girls, and leave communities of color economically deprived,” said Congresswoman Moore. “I was thrilled to join my colleagues to discuss issues critical to achieving justice on all fronts. Last weekend, we were able to listen to the voices of those most impacted by the criminal justice system, economic inequality, and disenfranchisement, which helped bring us closer to finding viable policy solutions.”

“The lives, culture and contributions of African Americans are part of the fabric of every single community in this country, just as the challenges we face and opportunities to which we lack access are integral to understanding the past and present of our nation,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “The United States will be stronger when we reconcile the fact that the presence of Black people has shaped this country, from our financial institutions, to the layouts of our neighborhoods, to the functions of our criminal justice system, to our educational systems and pop culture trends. The CBC’s work to tell that story and make clear those connections will help communities from Boston to New Jersey and well beyond understand those connections, and lift all Americans together, and I am grateful to my friend Rep. Pressley for bringing that work to Massachusetts’ 7th District.”

“As Rep. Pressley always says, ‘Those closest to the pain should be closest to the power,’” said Congresswoman Omar. “Whether it is black girls facing discriminatory school discipline policies or black entrepreneurs trying to get their business of the ground, we must listen to those directly impacted by our decisions in Congress if we are going to be their voice. I was so honored to have Representative Pressley visit my district in Minnesota this summer—and to have joined her last weekend to hear about the challenges and opportunities for the black community in Boston.”

To view the kickoff press conference, click here.

To view the economic justice panel, click here.

To view the pushout townhall, click here.