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Black Women’s Policy Agenda Launches Survey and Virtual Listening Sessions to Elevate Concerns and Challenges During Double Crisis of COVID-19 and Anti-Black Violence

The Black Women’s Policy Agenda (BWPA) launched listening sessions today to determine what impact the double crisis of COVID-19 and anti-Black violence is having on Black women in the Pittsburgh region. The goal is to check in on the social, emotional and financial health of Black women during these turbulent times, better understand their most pressing needs and work to positively change policies and systems.
“Black women fared far worse than our white counterparts pre-pandemic, so it’s no surprise that COVID-19 is hitting Black communities harder with a disproportionate number of
diagnoses and deaths,” said Rochelle Jackson, BWPA director. “Now, more than ever, we desperately need a Black Women’s Policy Agenda that prioritizes our issues and results in a region where Black women are centered in all policy, trusted as experts and positioned to thrive.”
Right now, BWPA is working to build collective power, advocate for the needs of Black women across all identities, and advance policy to achieve racial and gender justice. This process includes a survey created by and for Black women. More than 300 people are
being asked to complete the survey, which launched this week; 100 of which will participate in virtual listening sessions to take a deeper dive into urgent issues, such as underemployment and uninsurance.
“There is a definite need for a strategy to bring together the various groups across our region that are addressing issues impacting the lives of black women and girls,” said Dr. Kathi Elliott, Gwen’s Girls CEO. “It is going to take a collaborative effort to create sustainable change by addressing the systemic racial and gender biases that exist in the culture of our city.
“It is time that we move beyond studies or conversations and toward organized action so that our children’s children are not facing a broken record of lived experiences out of their control,” said Morgan Overton, community engagement and policy associate for the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. “The voice of the people should fundamentally exist at the core of policy. It cannot not be mutually exclusive. Pittsburgh could set the precedent for what it looks like when our policy agenda is put into practice, for what it looks like when Black women lead.”
The Black Women’s Policy Agenda received generous support from the FISA Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, the Hillman Foundation, the Opportunity Fund, The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Women and Girls Foundation, through a fiscal sponsorship with Side Project, Inc.
The survey can be viewed by visiting The next virtual listening session will be held September 2, 2020 from 6-7:30 p.m. For more information about the Black Women’s Policy Agenda, contact Rochelle Jackson at and follow the Facebook page.

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