I believe the one thing that truly brings us all together is that we are all different. It is our differences that make a community full of potential.
Passing of Title IX
On June 23, 1972, the Education Amendments of 1972 were passed, also known as Title IX. This important civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on gender in schools. Among other important rights, it required women and girls to be given equal opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Today, 50 years after its passing, women make up only 28% of our nation’s private-sector workforce in STEM fields.
I was surprised to realize this statistic mirrors the percentage of women in Congress nearly identically. Perhaps there is a lesson for us to learn between the connection of STEM and civic engagement as we continue to educate more girls of these opportunities.
This month we also pause to recognize the history of Black individuals in our nation. Juneteenth is an important holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. While today’s Congress is more diverse than ever, it is still disproportionately more white men compared to the overall U.S. population. Some progress we must celebrate is the increase of Black individuals in the House of Representatives. Now, 13% of House members are Black, equal to the share of Black Americans. However, The Pew Research Center expects the Black population to grow to 59 million by 2050. We must continue to elevate and support this community that has decades of barriers to overcome.
Of course, we cannot forget the importance of the LGBTQIA+ individuals in our community. Pride month is recognized every June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. It was a key tipping point of liberation. While 8% of the U.S. population identifies as LQBTQIA+, only 2% is represented in Congress.
Representation is the cornerstone of true democracy and equity. While we celebrate this month, our work doesn’t start or stop in June. We must all continue to vote, encourage participation in civic leadership and take action to further increase representation at the local, state and federal level.
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