Jamaican-American congresswoman leads new charge to tackle racial disparities

Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke

Jamaican American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke is leading a new US congressional initiative aimed at tackling racial disparities in the country.

She is the vice chair of the House of Representatives’ Energy Commerce Committee, and is collaborating with US Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Chair Robin Kelly, in focusing on race in America.

Clarke is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, and heads the newly-launched Racial Disparities Working Group. She is the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York.

She told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the initiative seeks to “raise awareness and find solutions to racial inequity”.

“The working group is housed under the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction and addresses racial disparities within the health, communications, technology, energy, consumer protection and environmental sectors,” said Clarke.

“As founder of the newly-unveiled Racial Disparities Working Group, we will focus on uncovering these causes and finding solutions to what can often be non-obvious reasons why Black and brown people are at a disadvantage compared to our white counterparts,” she continued.

Clarke said this collaborative Working Group will offer a slate of “targeted, data-driven legislative strategies” to improve outcomes for impacted populations by raising awareness and taking action through, among other things, roundtables, virtual town halls, field hearings and briefings.

She said this task will include demographic data reporting and collection; the availability of resources like personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators for health care centres serving minority and underserved communities — including community health centres and safety net hospitals — the physician shortage for minority communities; and general medical staffing throughout communities.