Dem lawmakers, activists get #PayBlackWomen trending
By Emily Birnbaum
Democratic lawmakers, nonprofit organizations and activists came together to get #PayBlackWomen trending on Tuesday to shed light on income inequality and unemployment rates among African-American women.
The hashtag, coined by writer and activist Leslie Mac, accompanied tweets from Democratic Reps. Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.) and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), among others.
“Black women are the backbone of our communities and are often the breadwinners of our families, but Black women earn only 67 cents per dollar compared to white men,” said Christine Bennett, a spokeswoman for Clarke, in a statement to The Hill.
“In short, black women aren’t getting nearly as much out of our economy as they’re putting into it,” Bennett added. “As a Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, a caucus that aims to address issues important to black women, like economic equity, it was critically important that Congresswoman add her voice to today’s conversation.”
Clarke also co-chairs the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, of which Watson Coleman was a founder.
Women of color constitute 7.1 percent of all members of Congress, with 18 black female lawmakers in the House and only one black female senator.
Black women in the United States who work full time, year-round are paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, according to The National Partnership for Women and Families.
The #PayBlackWomen hashtag, promoted with an image that reads “how the economy fails black women,” is intended to promote messages that lay out statistics and personal stories about black women’s unjust interactions with the economic system.
Several activists on Twitter focused on June’s landmark Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which dealt a blow to public-sector unions. The case ruled that forcing public employees to pay union fees amounts to a violation of their First Amendment rights.
“Collective bargaining is important for all workers, but especially workers who experience discrimination in the labor market,” tweeted a representative from the anti-poverty nonprofit Center for Law and Social Policy.
Ohio state Rep. Emilia Sykes joined the fray with an additional hashtag: #WeBelongHere.