On May 15, Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson introduced H.R. 1636, the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act of 2019. Wilson’s legislation would mandate the establishment of an advisory body that will study the societal forces that have a disproportionately impacted black males in America. The board will then make recommendations to address them.
Rep. Wilson was joined by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA). She is also joined in her effort by Tracy Martin, father of slain teen Trayvon Martin, who also will deliver remarks. Trayvon Martin’s death sparked a host of legislative efforts around the stand your ground law in Florida.
The bipartisan commission, which will be made up of lawmakers, and experts, will be housed within the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The commission “would examine such issues as mortality and homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rates, poverty, violence, fatherhood, mentorship, drug abuse, disparate income and wealth levels, school performance at various grade levels, and health. The commission will be required to produce an annual report of recommendations and solutions that will be submitted to the president and cabinet secretaries, Congress, the chairs of the appropriate committees of jurisdiction, and the public,” according to Wilson’s office.
“It’s not easy being Black and male in America. Despite historic gains made in the last 50 years, Black males from all walks of life continue to face challenges and hardships that have created significant disparities in the areas that are most critical to ensuring that our boys have equal opportunities to develop the skills required to become successful men,” said Rep. Wilson in a statement on May 13. “The commission and its work will provide the atomic blast of long overdue support that this issue merits and desperately needs.”
Rep. Wilson is the founder of the 50 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project of Miami and Jacksonville, Fla. The Role Models Excellence Project coordinator Marcus Bright and a student are scheduled to participate in the announcement of H.R. 1636 with Rep. Wilson.