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Equal Pay...NOW!

Today, the average earnings of Black women in the United States FINALLY equaled the average earnings of white men… in 2014.

It is August now. We’re now 8 months into 2015. That means Black women had to work for more than 19 months to earn what white men earned in 12 months because Black women currently make only 64 cents to a white man's dollar. [1]

That's not fair. And it's most certainly not okay.

This is an issue our sister-Moms organization, Moms Rising, is working hard to change. Mocha Moms needs to join them in full force! Our voice is needed now to bring this issue forward. The sad fact is that women still experience wage discrimination every day, with moms and women of color experiencing the most extreme discrimination and wage hits. Solutions are possible—and the more of us who speak up, the faster we'll get to those solutions.

We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to help close the wage gap—and we needed it yesterday. Tell your members of Congress that you want them to support this vital economic security legislation that boosts our families and our economy.

In the personal message box, please copy and paste in this message: I am a member of Mocha Moms, Inc., the premiere voice for Mothers of color in this country. WE VOTE!

Read more about this issue from Moms Rising HERE.

The numbers are important and show a pattern of discrimination that we must address together. Black women, including black mothers with small children, are overwhelmingly likely to be in the labor force. [2] But despite that, Black women, working full time, year round, made only .64 for every dollar that white men made. [3] This translates to a loss of nearly $19,000 dollars annually. [4] Further, studies show that Black mothers experience even bigger wage hits, earning only .54 cents on the dollar compared to white fathers. [5] This hurts women, children, families, and our economy as a whole. We can do better.

#BlackLivesMatter co-founder, Alicia Garza, has this to say:

"It's long overdue that we succeed in passing the Paycheck Fairness Act. For Black women in the workplace, this would be a major step in ensuring parity both economically and socially. Black women are more likely to be the head of the household than their white counterparts, and the struggle to make ends meet is enormous. Not only do Black women make 64 cents to every dollar that a white man makes, Black women are also the fastest growing population in prisons and jails--mostly for crimes of survival like bouncing checks to put food on the table or defending ourselves from intimate partner violence. Increasing economic independence for Black women could mean cutting off a pipeline to mass incarceration, which is a benefit for all of us.”

Black women are not only experiencing increased pay discrimination, but are also experiencing increased discrimination in the criminal justice system every day. For example, studies also show that Black women are three to four times more likely to be targeted by police and incarcerated than white women. [6]

Take what recently happened to Laura Browder, a Black mom of two who had just moved from Chicago to Houston, for example. Browder was arrested at the Memorial City Mall for allegedly “abandoning” her two and six-year-old children who were safely waiting for her, in her line of sight, nearby while she completed a last-minute job interview. She didn’t have anyone to watch her children, so she took them with her to the food court for the interview, bought her children food, and sat them at a nearby table in the food court while she sat with her potential employer for an interview. She had just accepted the job when she was arrested. [7]

In this instance, not only was Laura Browder’s new job and pay put in jeopardy, she was also unfairly arrested and detained in the criminal justice system. (The judge later returned her children to her).

In short: Women of color are uniquely targeted and impacted not only because of sexism but also because of racism.

"What Laura's case shows us is the extent to which the interplay of economic fragility, racism, and the criminal justice system can together, reek havoc on the lives of Black women who are struggling financially, but still seek to remain self-sufficient as they take care of their children. Too often this means that the parenting of Black families is judged differently by authorities than similar parenting by white families. For example, when a white, Silver Spring, Maryland couple allowed their children to play alone at a park over a mile away from their home, the Washington Post covered it, calling their practice 'free-range parenting.' Those parents rightfully never faced the prospect of arrest. And while they did undergo a brief investigation by Child Protective Services, not only was the issue quickly resolved, but an entirely new directive was put in place specifically allowing their practice in the future. But, on the other hand, in Laura's case, even being within eye-shot of her children was not enough to protect her from arrest, put her newly acquired job in jeopardy, and face the potential dissolution of her family.” - Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women and Incite Unlimited

Laura isn’t alone in navigating the double jeopardy of racism and sexism. There are 23.5 million Black women in America. [8]

When Black women are paid fairly, there will be a greater opportunity to develop a financial cushion​ to address child care and other family emergencies, and hopefully to avoid the nightmare that Laura and others have had to face.

It's time to build a nation where everyone can thrive!

*Please take a moment now to tell your members of Congress that you want them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

What would the bill do? Passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act is an important step in our campaign to close the wage gap. We need the Paycheck Fairness Act, because among other things, it would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who discuss salaries with colleagues and requires employers to prove that pay differences exist for legitimate, job-related reasons. [9]

After you sign on, please post this action link on Facebook, Twitter, and forward this email to friends and family so they can take action too. All of our voices are needed in order to end pay discrimination and to move the Paycheck Fairness Act forward.

Together, we're a powerful voice for #BlackWomenEqualPay

- Kristin, Monifa, Ruth, Sara, and the whole team

P.S. Have you suffered from pay discrimination, or know someone who has? Share your story here!

[1] Equal Pay for African American Women - National Women's Law Center

[2] Black Women in the United States, 2014: Progress & Challenges - Black Women's Roundtable

[3, 4] Equal Pay for African American Women - National Women's Law Center

[5] An Unlevel Playing Frield - National Partnership for Women & Families

[6] Women in the Criminal Justice System - The Sentencing Project

[7] Moms Gets Arrested for 'Abandoning' Kids in Nearby Food Court While at Job Interview - Think Progress, Texas Mother Arrested Because Her Children Sat '30 Feet' Away From Her in A Food Court - The Daily Signal

[8] African American Women - Black Demographics

[9] Paycheck Fairness Act HR 1619 and S 862




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