Georgia leaders play a key role in annual Congressional Black Caucus meetings

The annual event is the largest Black public policy conference in the nation
Georgia leaders play a key role in annual Congressional Black Caucus meetings
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:42 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:57 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia lawmakers led the way at the annual Congressional Black Caucus legislative conference in Washington, D.C. this week. The 52nd annual event focuses on the biggest challenges facing the Black community, and the legislative approaches needed to solve them.

The theme of the event was Securing Our Democracy, Protecting Our Freedoms, and Uplifting Our Culture. It brought thousands of people, including many Atlantans and Georgians, to the nation’s capital.

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock was co-chair of the event and also led a panel on gun violence and firearms reform featuring Georgia Representative Lucy McBath and Georgia native and rapper Quavo. Both have lost people to gun violence – McBath lost her son Jordan in 2012, and Quavo his nephew Takeoff, another rapper in the hit group Migos just last year.

“We live in a nation where any one of us could be a victim of gun violence at any time,” said Sen. Warnock. “We have seen more mass shootings this year than we’ve had days this year.”

Warnock was speaking on the Senate floor in May, when a gunman opened fire at a Midtown Atlanta medical building. He noted that day, his own kids went into lockdown at a school not far away.

“A FOX News poll said that 87% of Americans believe that we ought to have some kind of universal background checks, and yet, we can’t even get a conversation about it in Washington,” he said. “There is a growing chasm between what ordinary, hardworking Georgians and Americans want, and what they’re able to get from the government.”

Warnock pointed to the Safer Communities Act, legislation that was passed last summer that restricted access to firearms for people convicted of domestic violence, and also expanded background checks for the nation’s youngest gun buyers. But he said more needs to be done.

Representative Nikema Williams, who represents Georgia’s fifth district, also led a discussion on building Black wealth through investment.

“How do we give people more access to credit? How do we build more Black entrepreneurs?” said Williams. “For far too long, Atlanta led the nation in the racial wealth gap.”

Rep. Williams, who sits on the House Finance Committee, said one solution could be making it easier for Georgians to open businesses, removing red tape that is often costly and time consuming.

“We have Americans moving abroad to Rwanda so that they can start businesses because you can register your business online – get it up and running – within one hour,” she said. “And we need to take note of some of these best practices from all over the world so that we can bring them back and continue to close the racial wealth gap and take some of the burdens off these people when they’re looking to build this generational wealth.”

The annual conference will last through Saturday. Atlanta News First will have live coverage from Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and Thursday.