These Members of Congress Say They Will Confront Racial Inequality in America

By Kenrya Rankin Feb 09, 2016

Late last week (February 5 and 6), the Congressional Progressive Caucus gathered for the Progressive Congress Strategy Summit. The group, co-chaired by Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), met to set its agenda heading into the 2016 election. The Huffington Post reports that 29 members of the 76-deep caucus gathered in Baltimore, where they discussed topics impacting people of color across the country, from the racial wealth gap to the Flint water crisis to police violence.

“We are talking about issues of the moment, but they are a result of a systematic disinvestment of resources and benign neglect and an overt campaign to render us impotent, unhealthy and more,” said Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), who was named progressive freshman of the year over the weekend. “We are in a war of classism and racism and sexism, and if we don’t come to that reality now—and stand up against it now—and stand up against it and recognize there is no quick fix and there is a process we have to engage in, we will lose this opportunity.”

Accordingly, members of the group committed to focusing on these issues this year. “We have to look at the nexus between economic inequality and racial inequality. We need to step up and talk about race being a factor in every policy we have in this country,” said Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). “If Flint were a white, affluent city, there would be no lead in the pipes. There would be no poison. Our children would not be facing the issues they do now.”

Click through to see whom you can hold accountable for a progressive agenda this election season.