These past few months have been so exhausting for so many of us. We know that women have been stretched to the limit balancing their obligations in the workplace and duties at home. We know Black Americans have been bombarded with traumatic videos of unarmed Black people being accosted and/or killed by police officers in cities and towns across the country. And we know Black women have the dual stress of trying to manage all of these factors at home, in the workplace, and in society. In thinking critically about the role of Black women in society, often hailed as the keepers of democracy, I was curious as to how Black women could be better supported in their various endeavors, especially Black women who are on the margins of financial security.
I recently discovered the Economic Security Project (ESP), an organization challenging the status quo by bringing forth and supporting ideas that build economic power for all Americans. The ESP brings groups together, helps strategize, and then provides funding. They disburse grants and develop communications research in order to support emerging leaders in the economic justice field. This crucial work ensures these leaders have the networks, know-how, and money to succeed.
One of the campaigns I recently discovered was the Economic Security Project’s plan to highlight how a guaranteed income can support the health and wellbeing of Black mothers, and showcase the idea that economic policy centering the needs of Black women can benefit society overall. Overall, their goal is to reach Black women audiences through motherhood, health, and wellness spaces, and use the opportunity to talk about guaranteed income as part of ongoing calls for racial, gender, and health justice.
Mothers, especially Black mothers, play a foundational role in supporting our economy, society and family structures, and the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession has underscored their resilience and just how much they keep us all going. According to ESP research, Black mothers, have historically faced overwhelmingly unequal hardship. In the last year, they have endured the worst of it, but have continued to persevere for themselves and their families. As they and their loved ones encountered disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 illness and death and higher rates of pandemic-related unemployment, they were also confronted with the weight of ongoing police brutality. And all of this while starting from a position of less economic security—across income and wealth—due to generations of overcrowding in low-wage positions and exclusionary policy choices.
In order to create an equitable society that supports everyone, we must prioritize the economic stability of Black women. We must continue to support organizations doing the work. If you are interested in learning more about the Economic Security Project, go to: www.economicsecurityproject.org/
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and also the What’s in It for Us podcast.