HARLEM — Members of Congress issued a call to action to fight the wealth disparity that exists between blacks and whites in the United States at an economic forum Friday.
“Even African-Americans with college degrees accrue less wealth than white Americans without college degrees," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, quoting what she said was the most startling statistic. "This absolutely makes no sense what so ever.”
Here are some other stats from the Joint Economic Committee:
►The unemployment rate among African-Americans is more than double that of white Americans.
►The median household is half and the net worth of African American families is 13 times less than that of white households.
►1 in 3 black children live below the poverty level.
“While we cannot solve the problem exclusively at the federal level we can certainly put a light on it," South Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield said. "We can try to legislate and we can try to wake up the American people and let you know that poverty cannot be tolerated in a country as powerful and as strong and as rich as the United States of America.”
Some of the solutions proposed during the forum involved investing in technology infrastructure to make sure communities of color are not left behind, promoting STEM education in local schools, increasing participation of African-Americans in labor unions, and supporting legislation that raises the minimum wage.
The statistics are meant to help people understand the scope of the problem and motivate them to find other solutions both locally and nationally, said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
“This is a fight for the soul of who we are as a nation. We believe that as long as we find black families stuck in this persistent poverty our nation will never reach its potential,” she said.