Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Minority Caucus Unites on Capitol Hill

The destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent failure of the Bushistas to mobilize a quick response shined a bright light on the sad state of race relations in the United States. The veil was slightly lifted on the collective consciousness of citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, but there is much, much more that has to be done.

Recognizing that by speaking together their message is stronger, 75 minority members of Congress have announced the formation of a new caucus to address their collective concerns.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus are creating a new group that will include all of their members. The Tri-Caucus will not replace the existing caucuses.


"Communities of color have been separated by race, by language ... they've been very busy trying to survive. Working together we can get things done that we have in common in our community. We can create political leverage when we are together, we can create common solutions together," [Rep. Mike] Honda said.

The caucuses members total about 75. While the groups are open to lawmakers from any party, the caucuses members are all Democrats, which limits their power because Republicans are in the majority in Congress. - linkage

To see why a movement like this is needed, look no further than a poll taken by CNN in the aftermath of the hurricane. From September 13, 2005:
White and black Americans view Hurricane Katrina's aftermath in starkly different ways, with more blacks viewing race as a factor in problems with the federal response, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.

The poll found that six in 10 blacks interviewed said the federal government was slow in rescuing those stranded in New Orleans after Katrina because many of the people in the Louisiana city were black. But only about one in eight white respondents shared that view.

The numbers were similar on whether the rescues were slower because the victims were poor, with 63 percent of blacks blaming poverty and 21 percent of whites doing so. (emphasis mine)
These members of congress should be applauded for bridging the divide between their cultures that often include differences in language, economic and educational levels. By speaking together, they will be able to raise the blatant disparities that affect all minorities in the United States and hopefully move this country in a forward direction.

For more info, here are the websites for the three groups uniting:
Crossposted at Booman Tribune and Daily Kos

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