Fight for racial justice continues
The fight for racial justice continues amidst the wins and losses of the second leg of the 151st Delaware General Assembly. Black and brown communities lag behind majority communities by nearly every measure. That is why the Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative remains dedicated to changing policies and practices toward overcoming systemic racism in Delaware.
The DRJC was established in 2015 by a small group of civic leaders to advocate for racial equity and social justice in Delaware. In 2020, powered by the United Way of Delaware, DRJC reorganized as a coalition of hundreds of civic leaders and community-based organizations. The hard work of DRJC members, partners, General Assembly members and staff, and the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus have had real results in promoting equity across Delaware.
The successes of our advocacy efforts were realized during this past legislative session through the passage of numerous bills focused on healthcare, mental health, gun safety and voter rights. The DRJC is committed to eradicating racism and advocating for changes that will improve and/or enhance the lives of our most vulnerable populations by focusing on key issues that have resulted in both disparities and inequities. Our voice is unified and powered by over 250 organizations committed to charting a future that is just and equitable for all.
One important win to highlight from 2020 was the creation of the African American Task Force. Its various committees conducted a full examination through June 2022 of the issues and systems that supported and impeded progress for African Americans. Many of these inequities have existed for decades or longer. The work of the task force was necessary, but much more work remains to be done.
House Bill 375 brings the task force into Delaware code. This will guarantee a longer-term investment to remedy the systemic failures African Americans experience. It will also give the new Delaware Racial Equity Consortium the power and governing authority needed to act on the task force recommendations. The DRJC celebrates this action by the General Assembly. Now, the hard work on the recommendations begins, and the DRJC calls on all its members and partners to sustain their commitment to our goals.
We are grateful to our legislators, members and partner organizations who fought tirelessly to introduce and pass legislation that will make our state a safer, healthier and more equitable place to live. This session we focused our advocacy voices on equitable healthcare, voting rights, infant and maternal health, and gun safety.
Through its members, the DRJC has given voice to issues to advance social and economic justice for persons and families of color, and for all persons impacted by the causes and conditions of poverty and injustice.
In keeping with this mission, we are proud of the passage of HB 205. This bill affords expanded access to retirement and necessary savings. Employees who do not work for a company that provides access to traditional retirement savings accounts now have a pathway to actively engage in savings for retirement.
Similarly, we laud a series of gun safety measures supported by Gov. Carney that raise the minimum age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21, prohibit assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, and strengthen background checks. These measures will help create a stronger culture of safety and responsible gun ownership across Delaware. We look forward to closely tracking and supporting the implementation process for both issues.
Next, we turn our attention to local governments. We will continue to fight together for policies and practices that ensure equity for all Delawareans. The battle is not over. We need you! If you would like to join us, go to uwde.org/drjc. For more information about other legislation we advocated for, go to votervoice.net/UWDE/bills.