Congressional Black Caucus members take a look at 2023 wins and losses

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are taking a look at some of their biggest accomplishments from 2023.

Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., told theGrio that she achieved great success working with other members of the CBC during this session on behalf of her constituents.

“I worked with CBC’s Africa Initiative, the Global Africa Diaspora Initiative, connecting the values of CBC with the United Nations and foreign affairs work,” said Kamlager-Dove. “We’ve put together trade events for my district that we’re going to shop around to other districts connecting USAID and commerce and trade to businesses that are in our district who are interested in partnering with other countries.”

Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., shown at a Capitol Hill news conference in January, said she was able to help migrant families this session. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In addition to her work with the CBC, Kamlager-Dove is also a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and made clear that she was able to help many migrant families facing challenges navigating through the U.S. immigration system.

“I was able to bring home a constituent who had to self-deport to Mexico, and his family didn’t know if he would ever come back home,” she said. “He has two kids, one of which is a young child with special needs.”

“We have closed hundreds of cases,” the lawmaker added, “many of which have been around visas and getting people help who are either trying to go overseas or trying to come back here.”

While Kamlager-Dove achieved some legislative wins, members of Congress have been criticized for not passing legislation on two major issues: gun reform and police brutality.

Activists, leaders and beleaguered community members called for police reform following the death of Tyre Nichols, who, on Jan. 7, was brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers during a traffic stop. He succumbed to his injuries a few days later.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said, “We’ve got to strike the right balance” to achieve police reform. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., previously told theGrio that due to Nichols’ death and similar tragedies, there is an “urgent need” for police reform in this nation.

“We’ve got to strike the right balance between public safety, strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the community, and avoiding to the greatest extent possible and eliminating police brutality in America,” Jeffries said.

“In the previous two Congresses,” he stated, “House Democrats have led the effort to try to get comprehensive police reform measures enacted into law.”

However, those measures lacked support from members of the House across ideological lines.

Rep. Jamal Bowman, D-N.Y.,  told theGrio that proposed police reform measures failed to pass in the House during this session as well, due to House Republicans holding the majority.

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When Democrats are in control of the House and the Senate and the White House, a lot more just gets done,” he said.

Bowman maintained that some bills were “stopped by people like [Sen.] Joe Manchin. If it weren’t for Joe Manchin we would have universal child care, paid leave … investment in affordable housing, etc.”

However, he told theGrio, he believes this is “the last of a generation of leaders like this.”

“The new leaders of our country are going to be people like me, Congresswomen [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Summer Lee, Delia Ramirez … Congressman Jamie Raskin,” said Bowman. “People like that. People of goodwill, people of courage who are really serious about uplifting humanity, saving our democracy, building a better society.”

“It’s going to be us as a people,” he concluded, “to really take America where it needs to go.”

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Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are celebrating their accomplishments from 2023, including work on trade events, visas, and migrant families. However, they have faced criticism for not taking action on major issues such as police reform and gun control. House Democrats have been working on comprehensive police reform measures, but have faced challenges due to lack of support from House Republicans. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Jamal Bowman have emphasized the urgent need for police reform in the wake of cases like the death of Tyre Nichols. Despite these challenges, Bowman believes that a new generation of leaders, including himself and others, will work towards building a better society and taking America where it needs to go. While Democrats have faced obstacles in passing key legislation, they are hoping for continued progress with a new generation of leaders in the future.

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