Moving the African-American community forward was a topic of discussion among the U.S. Senate’s three Black lawmakers Monday night.
Moderated by U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tim Scott (R-SC) agreed that the economic well-being of the community is a paramount concern.
Scott said he and Booker have worked on the Investing in Opportunity Act, which incentivizes long-term private investment in neglected communities.
Harris added that all issues impact the African-American community. However, the most pressing issue is the “economic security and health of the community.”
“We know there’s a direct connection between that and the education opportunity we offer or don’t offer” she stated. “We know there’s a connection between those two and the criminal justice system.”
Black, a retired Navy rear admiral who served as chief of Navy Chaplains, underscored that the Senate had never had as many as three African-American senators serving at the same time. He asked them to identify the next generation of talented leaders.
The senators said that there are several rising stars. “What we haven’t done is create a pipeline of opportunity,” said Scott, a Republican.
Booker added that he’s concerned about the lack of diversity among CEOs and those working in science and technology fields. At same time, there’s an over-representation of Africa-Americans in the nation’s prison system, he lamented.