DNC Statement on CBC Legislative Conference and the Anniversary of Birmingham Church Bombing
September 15, 2016
WASHINGTON — DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile and DNC Black Caucus Chair Virgie Rollins issued the following statement on the Congressional Black Caucus’s Annual Legislative Conference and the Anniversary of Birmingham Church Bombing:
“African Americans leaders from across the nation are convening this week in Washington D.C. for the annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference to discuss issues important to our communities – economic development, civil and social justice, voting rights, public health, education and more. This week also marks the 53rd anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, a senseless tragedy that shook the nation and became a flashpoint of the Civil Rights Movement.
“The Democratic Party and our nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, are proud to stand with African Americans and build on the progress of the Obama Administration. Under President Obama, the unemployment rate among African Americans has been cut in half from 16.8 percent in 2010 to 8.1 percent as of August. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate among non-elderly African Americans has declined by more than half. More African Americans are graduating from high school than ever before, and college enrollment among Blacks reached an all-time high in 2014. And the incarceration rates for African Americans fell during each year of the Obama Administration to reach their lowest point in decades. These accomplishments were all possible because so many people made their voice heard by organizing, mobilizing, and voting.
“Now it’s time to do it again and keep our country moving forward together. Democrats are fighting to expand and protect the right to vote for all Americans. We believe in raising the minimum wage and leveling the playing field of our economy. Democrats want to heal the racial divide in this country, not exploit it. We understand our nation is in desperate need of criminal justice and prison reform. And our candidates up and down the ticket believe in building bridges, not walls. We look forward to a constructive dialogue between our Party and the leaders of the Black community during this Legislative Conference and long into the future.
“The conference comes at a critical time. We’ve seen a troubling resurgence of racism in Republican politics recently. Donald Trump hired as his campaign CEO a man who described his website as a ‘platform for the alt-right.’ In past interviews, Trump has failed to disavow the support of notorious neo-Nazi and KKK Grand Wizard, David Duke, who has referred to African Americans as ‘primitive animals.’ Twice in the last week Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, has refused to say that Duke is ‘deplorable.’
“Recently, Trump had the audacity to ask African Americans what we have to lose by voting Republican. Each day the answer is becoming clearer. Our nation has made tremendous strides since the Civil Rights Era to open up the vaults of opportunity for all and to push racists and bigots to the fringes of our society. We cannot go back. We must get out the vote. We must elect a Democrat as our next president, and elect Democrats up and down the ballot this November.”