By: - January 17, 2019 6:42 pm

Brenda Lawrence

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) has been elected co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Women’s Caucus. She will share duties with U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.).

“Working together to support the needs of women and families is a cornerstone of our country’s overall success,” Lawrence said. “I am committed to continue to collaborate in creating legislation that supports the needed and necessary goals of this caucus. This is a historical time for women in leadership and I’m excited to be a part of this caucus and this movement supporting fairness, justice and equality for all women.”

Lawrence said that she will make the high rate women dying at childbirth and women of color who live in poverty primary areas of focus. For every American woman who dies from childbirth, 70 almost die. That’s about 50,000 women a year and three times the number in Great Britain and Canada, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than one in three female-headed families lived in poverty in 2016, according to U.S. census data, compared to 17.3 percent of male-headed households and 6.6 percent of married-couple families. Poverty rates were higher for Black women who head families (38.8 percent) and Latinas who head families (40.8 percent).

Lawrence said she plans to host a town hall meeting in Detroit soon on these subjects. She will invite her caucus colleagues to attend.  

Founded in 1977, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues has been an advocate on issues involving the lives of women and families. It has helped to pass federal legislation securing tougher child support enforcement, promoting women’s health, helping women business owners, and protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Last week, Lawrence was nominated to the powerful Appropriations Committee, which  is responsible for setting funding levels for federal departments and agencies.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.