Congresswoman Lee Joins CBC Forum on Economic Challenges Facing the African American Community in Baltimore

Baltimore, MD – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democrats of the Joint Economic Committee for a public forum entitled “The American Dream on Hold: Economic Challenges in the African American Community.”

“Despite the ongoing economic recovery, too many African American families are being left behind.  It is clear that serious policy changes are needed to ensure that the opportunity to live the American dream is open to all, not just a select few,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Today’s forum is an important opportunity for the community and policy experts to work directly with Members of Congress in developing, crafting and passing policy solutions that will empower all American families to build pathways out of poverty.”

Currently, more than one in four African Americans is living in poverty. The poverty rate for the African American community is nearly triple the rate for white Americans.  Likewise, the African American unemployment rate is more than twice the rate for white Americans. In fact, the current African American unemployment rate is higher than the national average unemployment rate at the height of the recent recession.

In California, the African American poverty rate is 26 percent, which is more than twice the poverty rate of white Californians. Additionally, the African American unemployment rate in California is 14 percent, more than twice the rate of white Californians.

“Recently, I introduced the Pathways Out of Poverty Act (H.R. 2721). This legislation is a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to addressing poverty in America,” added Congresswoman Lee. “This legislations starts by creating good-paying jobs that empower families to build pathways out of poverty. Additionally, the legislation redoubles investments in proven, anti-poverty programs including workforce training, early childhood education, affordable housing and food assistance.”

The forum was held at the University of Baltimore. Photos of the event are available by contacting the Congresswoman's office.


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.