By The New Orleans Tribune In National News

News One

The Congressional Black Caucus unveiled a new bill earlier this week that its members say will make vast improvements in the lives of Black families, in particular, with significant legislative efforts to bridge the gaps specifically affecting them in the employment and criminal justice arenas.

Divided into two parts, the multi-faceted Jobs and Justice Act of 2020 makes provisions that, if passed, would “increase the upward social mobility of Black families, and help ensure equal protection under the law,” the CBC‘s ambitious new sweeping legislation says. 

The first part of the bill, devoted to jobs, is broken up into five subcategories to address the nation’s most pressing needs on the employment front during a time when there is unprecedented joblessness, especially among Black people. The jobs portion of the bill addresses various aspects of employment such as workforce development, community and economic development, poverty, housing and wealth creation as well as education.

From including incentives to provide more Black girls with opportunities to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields to addressing Black-owned businesses, personal finance and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the bill’s jobs division casts a wide net and covers the gamut when it comes to all aspects of Black employment.

The second part of the bill is also multi-tiered and concentrates on the ongoing efforts to reform the nation’s criminal justice system, “from improving the way police interact with the communities they serve to expanding access to social services for individuals who have paid their debt to society,” the legislation’s language says in part.

The “justice” division of the bill addresses criminal justice — and includes the CBC’s own Justice in Policing Act of 2020 that ambitiously aims to end police brutality, hold police accountable, improve transparency in policing and create meaningful, structural change when it comes to how law enforcement does their jobs — health equity, the coronavirus pandemic, environmental justice and voting rights.

Referencing how this year marks the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the CBC quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when introducing the landmark legislation: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”A research report by the ACLU research report, “The Other Epidemic: Fatal Police Shootings in the Time of COVID-19,” examines whether circumstances surrounding the public health crisis — unprecedented societal isolation combined with relaxed police department routine enforcement — has led to a change in the frequency with which the police fatally shoot people in the U.S.

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