Butterfield, Black Caucus, host forum

Congressional Members and Policy Experts Examine Solutions for Poverty Reduction

Washington, D.C. — While the richest Americans have greatly enhanced their wealth over the last 25 years, a decline in the middle class has swelled the number of people living in poverty.

The increasingly wide gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, and affects people of color disproportionately. The debate over how to address economic disparity within the African American community in the U.S. has been ongoing among policymakers, analysts, and other key opinion leaders.

In 2005, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) held a national town hall meeting on eradicating poverty at its annual conference. The CBCF also hosted a policy roundtable titled, “Poverty, Race and Policy: Strategic Advancement of a Family Economic Success Agenda,” and assembled a working group of subject matter experts to scrutinize the strategy outcomes of the discussion. As a follow up, the CBCF’s Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CPAR) and Congressman G. K. Butterfield will present a breakfast and forum on Poverty, Race and Policy on December 7, 2006 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association Building, 25 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

“The unforgivable reality is that more Americans than ever find themselves in need of food, shelter, clothing and health care,” Butterfield said. “It’s time to live up to our moral obligation to find effective solutions that help the millions of Americans who are overlooked and suffering each and every day.”

CBCF’s Interim President and CEO Dr. Elsie Scott agreed and said this must be a national priority.

“By consistently convening legislators, experts, and concerned citizens, we hope to push poverty reduction to the top of the African American and the American policy agenda,” Scott said. “Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, there was a lot of talk about the need to address poverty in the U.S. A year later, the talk has subsided, yet survivors, many of whom were poor before the hurricane, are still struggling to find jobs and secure stable homes. CBCF is trying to place this issue on the top of the nation’s priorities.”

CPAR’s Dr. Ivory Toldson added that, “Today the economic conditions that made mostly Black poor people carry the brunt of Hurricane Katrina’s burden still exists, and issues of race and poverty continue to make the U.S. vulnerable to another disaster. ”

The forum, which is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, will examine contemporary American poverty with an eye on race as a fundamental dimension of inequality. Panelists are expected to explore how recent labor market changes and national income distribution policies increase poverty and hardship. The forum will also address societal responses to poverty and insights into how poor and working-class people see the social system.

Participants and invited guests include Congressman and CBCF Chair Kendrick B. Meek; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Dr. Cheryl Miller of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Dr. Ron Walters of the University of Maryland, College Park and a member of CBCF’s Council of Academic Advisors; and Dr. Joe Leonard of the Black Leadership Forum.

Space is limited. Please RSVP to Dr. Ivory A. Toldson at itoldson@cbcfinc.org. To learn more about this and other Foundation events and activities visit the CBCF website at www.cbcfinc.org or call 202-263-2800.

The CBCF was established in 1976 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy, research and educational institute focused on leadership education, public health, economic development, and African globalism.