It's that time of year again in Washington, D.C. where the city is vibing with big policy energy. It's the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference week.
For three days, policymakers, advocates, and thought leaders will gather to discuss solutions to some of the issues impacting the Black community. This year's theme, Securing Our Democracy. Protecting Our Freedoms. Uplifting Our Culture. encapsulates the work to move the Black community forward.
Fresh off of setting Black America's policy agenda at our National Convention, NAACP leadership is hitting Capitol Hill to make those policy issues real. From panel sessions and briefings to meetings with our elected officials, they're equipped with demands and solutions from communities around the country.
There have been 504 mass shootings, as of September 17, according to the Gun Violence Archive. And numerous police officers have been indicted (or not) for the wrongful killing of Black people. No badge should be a shield from accountability and no American needs an assault weapon. To keep Black communities safe, Congress must pass legislation to end qualified immunity and develop a national database to remove officers engaged in a pattern of misconduct from our communities. Passing an assault weapons ban is also crucial to advance public safety and prevent the continued perpetuation of domestic terrorism.
Racial equity cannot exist without economic equality. In the wake of the Supreme Court blocking a sensible plan to student debt forgiveness we need Congress to promote the pursuit of higher education and create pathways to cancellation for borrowers.
It's also imperative that we support Black entrepreneurs to build Black generational wealth and to close the wealth gap. Private sector financial institutions and business must be held accountable when they fail to provide Black businesses and individuals with the financial solutions, wages, and capital needed to create economic success.
The future of our democracy depends on the expansion, not degradation, of voting rights. Federal legislators must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and devise pathways to expanded voter access.
Facts are facts. Black history is American history. Classrooms and workplaces are better served when open and diverse.
The Supreme Court's decision to end Affirmative Action defies reality - discrimination continues to exist and policies are needed to ensure that equity and opportunity remain. Together, we must explore and identify best practices to ensure that institutions of higher education and businesses can continue to attract, and retain infomred, diverse students, faculty, and employees.
Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) responsibly
We're all for innovation, but AI must serve the needs of people, to ensure that bias is not incorporated, deepening existing gaps in access to capital. As industries use AI technologies to streamline lending decisions, the NAACP stands firmly against the use of biometric indicators in lending algorithms. Any use of AI technologies in criminal justice must also be tested to ensure that technologies are race-neutral and do not over-index on the identification of Black Americans and other people of color.
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