The District of Columbia has always had a high number of African-American residents. In 1930, the Black population was about 30 percent and peaked to 71.5 percent in 1975. Years later, the U.S. Census reports the District’s Black population has dropped to 52 percent in 2010.
In an effort to better serve the needs of residents, D.C. Democratic Council member Harry Thomas has introduced a bill that would create a commission to assess the educational, economic and health needs of the Black community. The committee would then offer advice to the mayor and general public and offer solutions.
“It will be valuable to understand why this decline occurred, as well as how we can better address the persistent, entrenched socio-economic disparities that occur in certain segments of our communities,” Thomas told the Washington Informer.
Though the District has offices that address the concerns of Africans, Latinos, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and gay, lesbian and transgender residents, one does not exist specifically for African-Americans.
African-American residents are happy to hear of such legislation and are excited to see what’s to come, as many have felt like second-class citizens in an area in which they are a majority.