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Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman recently sat down with Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now, to discuss the launch of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls. This new political caucus is devoted to public policy that eliminates significant barriers and disparities experienced by Black Women.

Congresswoman Coleman explained women of color are “subjected to a lot of disparities” ranging from education, economics, social issues, and health care, and are victims of violence, sexual assault, and police misconduct.

Rep. Coleman told Martin, “Just like we are looking at our Brother’s Keeper as a focus on young Black men — young and old actually and what happens to them in our society — we have not done the same with women.”

“No one really focuses on our (women’s) voices when they are discussing public policy,” Coleman said.

Rep. Coleman expounded on her point: “We’re counted on in so many areas to be dependable and to show up” and support a multitude of issues, but often times issues important to African-American women are left out of many important conversations.

“On one hand we’ve got the issue of disparities and the need to address women’s needs and to raise their voices in public debate and discussion, on the other side of it, we need to showcase women who are tremendously accomplished,” Rep. Coleman said.

She added, “Our young women need to see examples, not just the First Lady who is a marvelous example, but women in all areas of economic and educational life.”

Rep. Coleman also explained that the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls will be launched as a formal organization and a “recognized caucus” with a specific agenda.

When asked if there are any prerequisites to joining the caucus that are similar to those for joining the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Coleman said, “We are not a Black caucus. We’re a caucus on Black women and Black girls.”

She added, “We want to raise issues on health care disparities, on pay equity, on job opportunities. Black women are so vitally important to raising our families. We want to make sure that we discuss those things and give them the greatest opportunity based on their ability and their capability, not their gender and not their race.”

Watch Roland Martin and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman discuss the launch of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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