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These Black Bakers Are Sure To Sweeten Up Your Timeline

Here's a roundup of Black bakers who'll definitely keep your sweet tooth singing.

Food & Drink

Picture this: it's a rainy Sunday morning in the winter. You wake up still tired from the night before (wink, wink) but nevertheless, you're in good spirits. You roll over to feel the warmth of your significant other but to your surprise, he's not there. You sit up, rubbing the sleep from your eyes in a slight state of confusion and angst––that is until he comes sauntering in with a tray of food. He's brought you breakfast in bed, specifically your favorite: Blueberry French Toast, eggs made just the way you like, a side of bacon, and a carafe of home-mixed mimosas.

The tray looks like it belongs on the cover of Food Network Magazine. You smile sweetly at him before digging in. Now this could be you IRL sis, but you playing. Put yourself and the lover in your life on game by putting them onto these delectable treats made by black bakers sure to keep your sweet tooth singing.

Chef Jeff Morneau

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Morneau

With a background in French Culinary and vast experience working for various catering companies and restaurants, Chef Jeff quit his job in 2011 in pursuit of more fulfilling work. Thus Chef Jeff Catering was born. And though he admits to initially running away from baking as long as he could, it's something he now truly loves in the most positive way. "It's the passion for me. I never look at the dollar amount and I think that's why I'm in abundance the way I am now. The satisfaction of my customers and the retention of my customers really keep me going." And while this self-taught baker excels at all things cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes, and event planning, his viral claim to fame are no doubt his flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Haitian patties.

What Baking Means to Him:

"It's a sense of fulfillment to know that people seek something I created. My job isn't a job, it's a hobby that pays well. My downtime, I find fulfillment in creating new things and trying new techniques. Baking makes me whole. It gives me a sense of tranquility, I get a sense of peace out of it. It allows me to create."

Career Highlight:

"It would be the Haitian patties. I say that because the biggest thing you're planning is never going to pop the way you want it to pop. It's always going to be the least amount of work in, that's gonna be the thing. They [The Haitian Patties] were never supposed to be a thing. I forgot them at an event and I needed to figure out what to do with them. But they helped put me on the route of becoming a household name. You know, people are waiting on them to be released again. So now, I have a tangible product that's sought after."

Future Plans:

"I would like to have Haitian Patties in distribution and create well-branded cookware. I want to have more things inside people's homes that say 'Chef Jeff.'"

For more of Chef Jeff, follow him @ChefJeffDidIt.

Chef Jeff's Blueberry French Toast

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Morneau

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices brioche
  • 1 stick of butter

Egg Mixture:

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sweet condensed milk
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Brandy

Blueberry Drip:

  • 2 cups blueberries (or fruits of choice)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brandy

Cream Cheese Drizzle:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sweet condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Garnish:

  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh mint
  • Sugar

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together: milk(s), egg, vanilla, brandy, orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Dip bread in egg mixture, flip to coat both sides evenly. (Do not let it get too soggy.)
  3. Toast bread slices on a buttered nonstick skillet on medium heat until browned on both sides. (Dress with the drip.)
  4. Blueberry Drip: In small saucepan, add fresh blueberries, dash of Brandy, 1/2 cup of sugar, and bring to a boil; then slowly simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Cream Cheese Drizzle: Mix Cream Cheese (softened), sweet condensed milk, evaporated milk. (Transfer into a squeeze bottle.)
  6. Top with 10 times sugar, a dollop of whipped cream and fresh mint.

Vee the Baker

Courtesy of Vee the Baker

Veronica Fletcher has Thanksgiving of 2014 to be grateful for when it comes to her booming business. After a coworker commissioned her to bake desserts to adorn the family dinner table, it proved to be the spark she needed to launch her then-fledgling version of Vee's Bakeshoppe. By Christmas of that same year arrived, Fletcher received more dessert requests from coworkers for their family gatherings. Following the successful holiday season, Vee's Bakeshoppe hosted a pop up in May of that next year where she sold out of her signature cupcakes in the first 30 minutes--officially cementing her as a small business owner.

For Vee though, it's all about the feeling of satisfaction for people she serves. "The best part is the smile I get when someone enjoys one of my creations. I live for the pause and long, drawn-out "yums" when that first bite melts into their mouths. The happiness of being satisfied or having spirits lifted by a little flour, sugar, butter, and time is well worth my effort."

Length of Time Baking:

"I started baking in college with the hopes of recreating the desserts I grew up enjoying. The hunger for home led to numerous calls to and long recipe walk-throughs with my mom. Growing up, we didn't keep packaged sweets in our pantry because my mom, known to many in the Dallas area as the 'Cookie Lady', baked all the time."

Favorite Dishes to Bake:

"My beloved bakes are 7-Up pound cake, homemade cinnamon rolls, and a beautifully decorated layer cake. The versatility of and endless ways you can enjoy a delicious piece of pound cake has allowed me to create recipes that range from breakfast to dessert. The inviting smell and ooey-gooey goodness of a homemade cinnamon roll with a cup of coffee is the perfect way I like to start the day and end it on some occasions. Creamy, velvety buttercream, and bright colored decorative elements on my layer cakes allow me to be artistic and playful."

What Baking Means to Her:

"Baking is my therapy. As one who works a corporate job full-time, I look forward to getting into the kitchen after a long day and baking my feelings away. Sweet creations are always the best reward before calling it a day (or night). The process of baking and the bakes I'm able to create bring to fruition an idea, or emotion that I want to convey. It is truly my passion. I want each and every recipe that I craft to ring of my personality and love for good food, great moments, and amazing memories."

Let's go sis! For more of Vee, follow her on IG @veethebaker.

Vee’s 7-Up Pound Cake Recipe

Courtesy of Vee the Baker

Ingredients:

1 cup of salted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3 cup of granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. lemon extract
3 cup of all-purpose flour
5 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup of Sprite, room temperature

Directions:

  1. We'll be using a single rack in the oven. Remove the top oven rack and place the bottom rack on the third position rack from the bottom. Preheat the oven to 290 degrees.
  2. Prepare your bundt pan by coating it with non-stick vegetable spray or shortening and flour. I personally prefer shortening and flour. (You cannot substitute vegetable oil for shortening here. The consistency is not the same.)
  3. Sift flour and set aside.
  4. Crack eggs in a small bowl, removing the chalaza. Beat eggs with a fork and set aside.
  5. In a bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, and lemon extract, and turn the mixer to Stir. Mixture should become light and fluffy before moving to the next step.
  6. Spoon in flour alternately with the Sprite while the mixer is going. You want to add enough Sprite to moisten the dry ingredients. I suggest you add the flour ingredients in thirds. Stir until mixture is smooth.
  7. Slowly pour in eggs while the mixer is running. Stir until batter is well mixed and smooth. Do not over beat the batter.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan, spreading evenly to ensure the cake bakes out evenly.
  9. Bake for 90 minutes (timing will depend on how your oven cooks) or until the cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five (5) minutes before flipping out on the cake stand. Allow cake to finish cooling before serving.

Darius Cooks

Courtesy of Chef Darius Williams

Idle time might be the devil's playground but for Chef Darius Williams it was exactly what he needed to launch his now 7-figure business. After closing down his Chi-Town bakery two weeks before the pandemic hit, all it took was time, creativity, and a viral Peach Cobbler Pound Cake to position himself where he needed to be in this new season. And after just two weeks of fulfilling customer orders, Williams was able to obtain a space and staff to further serve his base with not just cakes but with a sense of care and compassion as well. "For me looking back over the years, watching my grandmother in the kitchen moving about--all of the values that I learned from her are sort of ingrained in me. And you see that come out in the food I make. So it's more so about expressing the history and the culture and all these little nuances that have inspired me to be who I am today."

Length of Time Baking: Over 20 years.

Favorite Dishes To Bake: "Red Velvet Cake, Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese. Anything I can mix with cognac, rum, or tequila when it comes to food––I enjoy that a lot."

Career Highlight: "Starting the pound cake business and in two months, making a half-million dollars."

For more of Chef Darius, follow him on IG @Dariuscooks.

Chef Darius Williams' Strawberry Moscato Shortcake

Courtesy of Chef Darius Williams

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of chopped strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Moscato wine
  • For the whipped cream
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, and buttermilk until the sugar is dissolved. Then, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well. Then, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Pour into prepared ramekins and bake until golden brown. This should take 13-15 minutes.
  4. Once the cakes have cooled, remove and cut in half. Then, brush each half with Moscato.
  5. For the whipped cream, add all the ingredients into a mixer and whip until well combined.
  6. For the strawberries, mix with the sugar and Moscato and set aside.

To assemble, layer the cake with strawberries and whipped cream and enjoy.

Jarrett Hill

Having a restauranteur for a grandmother and a caterer for step-mom, if cooking didn't become a part of your personality, it would be very hard to believe. Luckily for Jarrett Hill, that isn't the case. Having been in the kitchen since he was a little kid, baking has always been an enjoyable part of his life. Whether it was baking desserts as a way to connect with his family as a young one or making monkey bread to cope with the myriad of emotions that come with a global pandemic, for Hill this passion is one he's found to be both a spiritual and saving grace during these times. "A friend of mine references cooking as a prayer and says sometimes cooking can be prayer if we're methodical in the way that we handle different things and really zoned in on it. That's always kind of stuck with me, that you can make anything into a prayer or a meditation. It's not just about sitting with your legs crossed or your hands folded. It can be anything where you really immerse yourself. And I've found that to be true for me."

Favorite dishes to Bake:

Puff pastry desserts, Cheesecakes, Banana Bread

What Baking Means for Him:

"I started to do 'rage baking' back in May and June with the protests happening all around because of anti-Blackness and policing. I was baking so much to the point where I started giving it away to friends. It's been something that helps me calm down in moments where I'm angry or sad or depressed. It's been really helpful. And I think part of it is also about feeling like you have a little bit of control over something. It gives a sense of accomplishment and I think that's important in the time we're living in right now. A lot of people's careers are thrown into question, their futures are thrown into question, and sometimes we just need a win."

Future Plans:

"I'm really curious about venturing into the edible space, so I've been intrigued by that. Especially since it's legal where I live in California. It's not a part of my long-term goals to open up a bakery, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it. I do enjoy it but I don't want it to start feeling like a job."

To keep up with Jarrett, follow him on IG @jarretthill.

Jarrett Hill’s Banana Bread

Courtesy of Jarrett Hill

"I add in twice the vanilla, scratch the coconuts, and sometimes (if I'm really feeling myself) like to switch out bananas for sweet potatoes. Making my own vanilla extract is one of my favorite secrets to always turning out great baked goods. And it's super simple using scrapped vanilla beans and your favorite pure alcohol – i like to use bourbon or whiskey."

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 5-6 bananas)
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (and extra to dust pan with)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 box vanilla instant-pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 (3.5 oz) bar dark chocolate (chopped into chunks)
  • Salted butter optional for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas, eggs, and oil and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and pudding mix. Mix the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, but avoid using a mixer. Do this part manually to keep the end result nice and fluffy.
  4. Chop up the dark chocolate bar. Add that and the shredded coconut to the batter.
  5. Grease the pan (this means rubbing lots of butter all over it) and coat the butter in a layer of flour. Flip the pan upside down to shake out the excess flour.
  6. Bake until the cake bounces back when pressed or if a toothpick comes out clean when poked in. Depending on the pan, your baking time will vary. With a bundt pan, estimate around 60 to 80 minutes, depending on how deep it is. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and flip it onto a clean plate or tray for serving.
  7. Enjoy it warm with butter or a scoop of ice cream! Keep it either refrigerated or left out in an airtight container.

Desserts by Ine

Courtesy of Ine Ihonkhai

The search for the perfect cheesecake is what led this Parisian baker on a serious quest to satisfy her sweet tooth. Emerged in a world of French pastries, sadly Ihonkhai couldn't find one that truly hit the spot so she decided to bake her own and thus the love affair began. 11 years later, her love for baking and sharing her baked goods continues to be the driving force behind her success. "For me, baking is a passion that can be shared and enjoyed with family and friends. It's often the dessert that gets people talking over dinner and I love that! It's also an outlet to express creativity and to be as imaginative and original as you want, there are no limits in baking and that is what's so amazing about it. Of course you make mistakes along the way, but that's all part of the baking process and definitely what has turned me into the baker I am today."

The Best Part of Baking for Her:

"For me, there are three best parts: 1) being able to use my creativity to come up with new recipes and dessert decorations, 2) my love of baking has revealed a new passion that I didn't know I had before: food photography! I now love taking pictures of my desserts just as much as I love making them, 3) sharing my desserts with family and friends. Eating the dessert has got to be the ultimate best part, right?!"

Career Highlight:

"As a homebaker, my highlight would probably be when I was contacted by a well-established coffee shop to supply them with my desserts. Unfortunately with the coffee shop based in Washington DC and me over in Paris this was logistically impossible! However it was a real honour to be contacted."

Favorite Dishes to Bake:

"I love making entremets with at least three different layers. The complexity of the different flavours is always so interesting and also beautiful to look at. I also love making cheesecakes, my all-time fave!"

Save us a slice, sis! To keep up with Ine, follow her on Instagram: @dessertsbyine.

Ine’s Hojicha Matcha Madeleines

Courtesy of Ine Ihonkhai

Ingredients:

Madeleines

  • 115g melted butter (cooled)
  • 130g sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp hojicha matcha powder
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1 tbsp milk

Chocolate shell

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 2 tsps hojicha matcha powder

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and hojicha powder. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together until frothy. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until just combined. Pour in half of the cooled melted butter and combine well before adding the rest of butter. Stir gently until just combined. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 190C. Grease and dust two 9-shell silicone madeleine moulds. Scoop 1 tbsp of the hardened batter into each mould then bake in oven for 12 mins. Remove madeleines from moulds and allow to cool on a rack.
  3. Chocolate shell: Melt white chocolate in a bain marie to 29C then mix in hojicha powder. Pour 1 tbsp of the chocolate mixture into each mould shell then press the madeleines into them. Leave to set in the fridge for 1 hour before removing from moulds.

Enjoy with a hojicha latte!

Doctor Jon Paul

Courtesy of Doctor Jon Paul

Armed with the knowledge and impressive skills passed all the way down from their great-grandmother, Dr. Jon Paul took to baking with both a natural ease and passion. (And you better, especially when your entire maternal side inherently knows how to throw down in the kitchen.) But it wasn't until one of their uncles taught them and ONLY them, their great-grandmother's coveted peach cobbler recipe that they took their commitment to the craft and love of community to a whole 'nother level. "To me, baking comes from a place of love. Because not only is it chemistry, it's a lot of time. If someone bakes for you, it's a way of them saying 'I got you.'"

Favorite Dishes to Bake: Pecan Pie, Circus Cookie Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Pie

What Baking Means to Them: "The best feeling in the world is knowing that you made something that people really like or enjoy. It's that feeling when you bake a peach cobbler for someone and you drop it off, and then you go to pick up the container you brought it in and they're like' there's no more of this?' That's the best feeling. So it's a form of joy for me."

Future Plans: "I can't say but I did something during COVID related to baking that will be on TV. And I'm hoping to do more of that, but that's all I can say. But I would love to do something where I'm able to work with other Black and Brown creators, and we're having conversations about food and the connections that we have to it. So I would like to do more in the television or entertainment sphere about baking and what it means to Black people and Black Queer people specifically."

To keep up with Doctor Jon, follow them on IG @doctorjonpaul.

Dr. Jon Paul's Carrot Cake

Courtesy of Dr. Jon Paul

Prep Time: 35 min | Cook Time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

Cake Mixture

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 fresh whole eggs
  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups raw finely ground carrots
  • 4 ounces finely chopped walnuts

Frosting

  • 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 12 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces room temperature margarine

Directions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, mix sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture and blend well. Fold in carrots and chopped nuts until well blended.
  2. Distribute batter evenly into 3 (9-inch) cake layer pans, which have been generously greased. There will be approximately 1 pound 5 ounces of batter per pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool layers in pans, for approximately 1 hour. Store layers in pans, inverted, in closed cupboard to prevent drying. Layers must be a minimum of 1 day old.
  3. To remove layers from baking pan, turn upside down, tap edge of pan on a hard surface. Center a 9-inch cake circle on top of revolving cake stand. Remove paper from bottom of layer cake.

For the frosting:

  1. In a suitable bowl of large mixer, place powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and margarine. Beat at second speed until thoroughly blended. Hold refrigerated and use as needed.
  2. For the assembly: Place first layer, bottom side down, at center of cake stand. With a spatula, evenly spread approximately 3 1/2 ounces of frosting on the layer.
  3. Center second layer on top of first layer with topside down. Again with a spatula, evenly spread approximately 3 1/2 ounces of frosting on the layer. Center third layer on top of second layer with topside down. Using both hands, press firmly but gently, all layers together to get one firm cake. With spatula, spread remainder of frosting to cover top and sides of cake. Refrigerated until needed. Display on counter or cake stand with a plastic cover.

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

Featured image courtesy of Chef Jeff Morneau.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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I know this may come to a surprise so many, but here we are. Yes, I got a BBL. If you aren't aware, a BBL is a Brazilian Butt Lift, a cosmetic surgery process where the doctor uses a combination of liposuction and fat-grafting, transfers the fat into the butt, resulting in added volume, defined curves, and a lift. It is technically lipo and a fat transfer. But yeah girl, this has been on my to-do list for a while. And now that I am able to afford it, I went for it.

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As an extension of my monthly self-care routines, facials have become top priority when it comes to maintaining healthy skin. For months I've noticed excess oil, stubborn breakouts and dry cracked lips forcing me to seek an alternative to my everyday skincare routine. Unable to solve my skincare troubles, I decided it was time to seek the help of a professional to help revive my dull skin.

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I will never make an apology for the fact that I adore the Scriptures. There is something very, remarkable is the word that comes to mind, about the fact that even all of these years later (thousands and thousands of years later), there is so much wisdom within the Bible that is still relevant and — if you want to live a content life — even necessary. Matter of fact, some of the people in my world who aren't Bible followers or even believers in God will admit to me that Proverbs (King Solomon's book of wisdom) has some real gems in it.

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August invites you to shine bright like the sun which requires you to leave behind the sob stories of being the underdog. Recognize your power as a reflection of the Divine and watch how far you can go. Be mindful of that inner critic when Mercury enters Virgo. For every negative thought, counteract it with three compliments about yourself. When Venus enters her home sign, relationship matters get a whole lot sweeter after the wild ride that was Mercury Retrograde.

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