Joyce Beatty elected next chair of Congressional Black Caucus
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) on Thursday was elected the next chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — a position she called an “honor of a lifetime.”
Beatty will serve as the 27th chair of the caucus, which was founded in 1971. The caucus has more than 50 members in this congressional session, a historic high.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) serves in the role for the current session.
In a statement marking her election, Beatty pointed to three pandemics she said are having a disproportionate impact on Black Americans: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “economic turmoil, and social injustice.”
In the role, Beatty said she plans to work with the incoming Biden administration and Congress to combat the coronavirus pandemic “and ensure better days lie ahead for all of us.”
The congresswoman has already put pressure on President-elect Joe Biden to make undoing a controversial executive order issued by President Trump that takes aim at certain diversity training, a priority when he gets into office.
Beatty also said Thursday she will use her platform to “address enduring economic and health disparities and fight to break the chains of systemic racism that have held back the Black community for far too long.”
Her comments come as racial data continues to emerge highlighting the disproportionate effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on Black Americans. Black Americans, along with other minority groups, are being hospitalized with the illness at nearly four times the rate of non-Hispanic white people, reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows.
According to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, Black people are dying from the illness at twice the rate of white people in the United States. A study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the summer also showed that Black small business were getting hit harder than others by the pandemic.
These disparities have stood out even more this year as the U.S. saw a countrywide reckoning with race brought on by the killings of Black Americans by police. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., in particular sparked months of protests against police brutality and racism across the country.
In her statement on Thursday, the congresswoman also acknowledged the caucus’s upcoming 50th anniversary.
“The Caucus will mark its 50th anniversary in 2021, and I will do everything in my power to build upon our previous successes, work to create racial wealth equity and sustainability, increase access to affordable healthcare, housing and education, reform our criminal justice system, and clean up our environment,” she said.
“Together—standing on the shoulders of the 13 CBC founders—we will continue to fight for our families, fight for our communities, and fight for justice for all,” she added.