Minority and Women Inclusion
- Eliminating the Wealth Gap - Currently, wealthy families make nearly 7 times as much as middle class families and 70 times as much as lower class families. Additionally, African-Americans have 13 times less wealth than white households, and Latino’s have 10 times less wealth than white households. This is the widest wealth gap since 1983, when this data was first collected. As Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee and longtime advocate for economic justice, Congresswoman Waters was one of the first and only Members of Congress to have drawn the connection between policy decisions made by our lawmakers and their affect on wealth and opportunity for the middle and lower class. Congresswoman Waters has taken a lead role not only raising awareness of the wealth gap and its consequences, but also in supporting legislation that attempts to address it.
- Minority Owned Businesses - Congresswoman Waters firmly believes that one of the best ways to minimize the wealth gap is to increase minority ownership of business. Businesses are a unique form of wealth generation as they are one of the best and most basic paths to economic empowerment and sustainability for minority communities. More than 1 in 10 workers, or 13 million people, are self-employed business owners in the United States; these 13 million people hold an amazing 37.4% of the total wealth in America. This is the type of diversified wealth that will sustain a household in the face of another economic crisis, and it is the type of wealth that will help African American and Latino households put a dent in the wealth gap. Recognizing this, Congresswoman Waters is a fierce advocate for finding opportunities for minority owned businesses. She has pushed the White House to employ minority owned asset managers to manage federal pension plans, she is a proud supporter and advocate of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, commonly known as The Black Press, and at every opportunity, Congresswoman Waters has introduced amendments to ensure that minority owned businesses are not being overlooked.
- Diversity and Inclusion in Federal Jobs and Contracting - As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government has a responsibility to have a workforce that reflects the natural diversity of the country. One of the best ways to have a government that is understanding and responsive towards the concerns and needs of the minority communities is to ensure that our laws and policies are being made and implemented with the representation of minority voices. Furthermore, the federal government spends billions of dollars in contracting each year, while only a small percent of these contracts are directed toward minority or women owned businesses. These contracting opportunities often transform smaller businesses into high job producing, medium, and larger size companies. There is no reason why all communities do not have equal access to contracting with the federal government. The persistent lack of diversity across the entire federal government remains one of Congresswoman Waters’ longstanding priorities. From introducing legislation to transforming the structure of the federal financial services sector, Congresswoman Waters is fighting to ensure that the federal government continuously strengthens its diversity efforts across all sectors and industries.
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Private Sector - In addition to recognizing the need for diversity and inclusion in the federal government, Congresswoman Waters is also pushing for more opportunities for minority communities in the private sector. As a member of the Congressional Black Caucus’ diversity task force, Congresswoman Waters continues to closely monitor American corporations, especially those who depend on government contracts and tax preferences, to make sure they are making a diversity effort in Board Rooms, executive suites, and the corporate workplace. She has played an integral role in the task force’s CBCTech2020 initiative, which is a collaborative effort with Congress, industry, and advocates to improve diversity within the tech industry by the year 2020. Working closely with major corporations like Facebook and Twitter, Congresswoman Waters is determined to ensure that all minorities will have an opportunity to be a part of the ever expanding tech industry, highly touted as the industry of the future.
- Inclusion of the Office of Women and Minorities in the Dodd-Frank Act - Congresswoman Waters included a provision in the landmark Dodd-Frank Act that created offices designated to ensuring the inclusion of women and minorities at the seven federal financial services agencies. Each OMWI office is charged with increasing the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in the respective agency’s programs and contracts, promoting equal employment opportunity and the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of its workforce and senior management, and assessing the diversity policies and practices of institutions under the agency’s regulation.
- Addressing the Wealth Gap Resolution - In March 2015, Congresswoman Waters introduced the Addressing the Wealth Gap resolution which was originally sponsored by more than 50 Members including members from the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Congressional Progressive Caucus. Congresswoman Waters’ Wealth Gap Resolution calls on Congress to recognize the wealth gap and the racial wealth gap as a national crisis, and to develop policies focused on its elimination.
- Advocating for Diverse Asset Managers - Congresswoman Waters has been a leader in pushing for more federal opportunities for minority owned diverse asset managers. Last June, the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corp announced a pilot program which will enable small managers, which includes several minority owned firms, to have more opportunity to manage federal pension plans. This pilot program was in direct response to Congresswoman Waters’ advocacy and year-long discussion with the Obama Administration. Additionally, the Congresswoman hosted a Chief Investment Officer roundtable meeting to discuss more opportunities for minority owned asset management firms, the first meeting of its kind ever held by Members of Congress.
- Pushing for Diversity in Television and Entertainment - Congresswoman Waters, along with her colleagues of the Congressional Black Caucus, pressed the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that the merger between Comcast and NBC included enforceable commitments to boost media ownership, programming, advertising and other opportunities for women and minorities. As a result of our efforts, Comcast launched several new minority owned channels, including Magic Johnson’s Aspire and Sean Combs’ Revolt.
- Fighting for Women Veterans - One of Congresswoman Waters’ first pieces of legislation was to establish a women’s bureau in the Department of Veterans Affairs whose focus was to provide advice and make recommendations of policies and programs affecting women veterans and to provide support and administrative services for Women Veterans.
More on Minority and Women Inclusion
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee and a leading advocate in Congress for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment, marked National Latino AIDS Awareness Day by reiterating her support for robust federal funding for domestic HIV/AIDS programs in fiscal year (FY) 2016.
LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement upon the passing of voting rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson:
“Our nation and our community suffered yet another tremendous loss yesterday. Amelia Boynton Robinson was a visionary and a fighter. She dedicated her entire life to the cause of advancing civil rights and voting rights for African-Americans.
LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement upon the passing of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Founding Member and former Representative Louis B. Stokes:
LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement upon the passing of civil rights leader Julian Bond:
LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, marked the 80th anniversary of the landmark Social Security Act. Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, the Social Security Act has provided economic stability and retirement security to millions of hard working Americans. The Congresswoman released the following statement:
LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act:
WASHINGTON – On Saturday, August 1, 2015, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, delivered the keynote speech at the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession Event titled, “50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
When you speak with California Congresswoman Maxine Waters about issues of economic empowerment for Blacks, hold onto something tight. You will be caught up in a whirlwind of ideas, expertise, and passion. Even the biggest skeptics of the possibility of income equality may begin to feel like the ground can shift and the gaps can close.