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Policy priorities

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Black women have been absent from the table for far too long.


Our collective voices and demand for change are critical for our communities.

We are expecting a return on our investments in democracy by way of policy changes in concrete and significant ways:

Priority 1 >

Raise Minimum Wage 

Priority 2 >

Increase the TANF cash grant in PA


Priority 3 >

Paid family and medical leave


learn how this priority became a win

Extending Medicaid to twelve months post-partum 

2023 Policy priorities


  • Raising the minimum wage to $15

  • Driving our Level Up campaign/Pay Equity for Black women (closing the wage gap) and is inclusive of:

    • Statewide legislation requiring employers to disclose the salary for open positions early in the hiring process

    • Workplace protections/provisions

  • Pushing for state investment in childcare with a focus on non-traditional/before/after school care - PA’s child care system is struggling. It is estimated that we are 4,000 short of people in the childcare workforce and currently have more than 35,500 children sitting on child care wait lists making it difficult for parents to work. 

  • Advocating for a TANF cash grant increase in PA.

Priority 1 | Raise Minimum Wage 

Black women are in a virtual state of crisis and poverty is the biggest challenge they face. The percentage of Black women who are full-time minimum-wage workers is higher than that of any other racial group. We know with poverty, comes a whole host of other issues like access to affordable quality housing, affordable quality childcare, transportation as well as poor health outcomes and increased mental health challenges like anxiety, stress, and depression. Data shows that Black women are looking for work but are not getting hired (in the Pittsburgh region). We surveyed almost 300 Black women in 2020 and more than half of the survey respondents reported being employed full time but also acknowledged that it was still a struggle to provide for their families.


56% of those surveyed have taken additional jobs to be more financially secure.

The devaluing of women’s work ultimately results in lower wages, economic instability, and expanding inequality. Low wage workers, many of whom are Black women, are less likely to have key employee benefits like paid family and medical leave, or even a living wage and often are forced to use more of their income to maintain their households.


50% of our survey respondents reported making less than white co-workers with the same level of education and experience as them.


It is estimated that about 40% of Black women would receive a wage increase if the minimum wage is raised to $15.



Priority 2 | Increase the Tanf cash grant in pa

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally-funded block grant that provides cash assistance to Pennsylvania families with the lowest incomes. Recipients of TANF are required to actively look for work or participate in a job training program. 

Priority 3 | paid family and medical leave

More than 50% of Black women reported being essential workers and working during the pandemic, yet not having access to paid family and medical leave. Black women have the highest labor participation rate among women, even during a global pandemic.

52% of the Black women we surveyed reported not having access to paid family medical leave and 44% reported having no access to sick days.


Priority 4 | Extending Medicaid to twelve months post-partum

Fetal deaths are two times more likely for Black women than for white women.

The Black fetal mortality rate in Pittsburgh is 94% higher than in similar cities even though Black women in Pittsburgh begin prenatal care sooner than 92% of similar cities. Black maternal mortality is higher in Pittsburgh than in 97% of similar cities. Most maternal deaths and complications occur post-partum, long after Medicaid benefits have been suspended. Prior to the ARP, Medicaid insurance coverage only covered 6-weeks of post-partum care for women. We now have the option to extend that coverage to 12 months and to save the lives of many women, particularly Black women.

Extended Medicaid Postpartum is no longer a priority – it was successfully adopted in PA as of April 1, 2022

and is now a permanent federal provision of the Medicaid program.

Priority 1
Priority 2
Priority 3
Priority 4
Image by Daniel Thomas

Cash Assistance Grant


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally-funded block grant that provides cash assistance to Pennsylvania families with the lowest incomes. Recipients of TANF are required to actively look for work or participate in a job training program. 

TANF is a critical program for families who are trying to escape poverty. Families spend TANF benefits in local communities and businesses on basic needs such as housing, clothing, transportation, and toiletries like toothpaste and soap. TANF recipients have to comply with work requirements, and also must file for child support against any absent parent. 


Advocacy & ACTION


The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance grant – which provides the only source of income for about 50,000 Pennsylvania children –has not been increased since 1990.

THE ask

Contact your PA Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the bills. The House bill is HB 2015 and the Senate bill is SB 918. The bill will increase the TANF cash grant to 50% of the Federal Poverty Level, currently the cash grant is only 22% of the FPL (extreme poverty). 

Check Out Our Support Letter to Governor Wolf

Check Out Meet The Need 2021 Full TANF Report

Federal Priorities
American Judge

Policy priorities

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Priority 1 >

Pass the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act

Priority 2 >

Increase in the minimum wage to $15

Priority 3 >

Encourage US Congress to support President Biden’s FY 2024 Budget which makes investments in our nation’s human infrastructure by lowering spending costs for families, strengthening social safety programs, investing in childcare programs, expanding access to affordable housing, and invests in civil rights and voting rights enforcement

Priority 4 >

The reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and Services improvement Act to help eradicate violence against women

Priority 5 >

Maternal health and reproductive justice/rights – Congress needs to pass the Black

Maternal Health Momnibus Act and Women’s Health Protection Act

Priority 6 >

Mental Health – Congress needs to pass legislation to increase funding for national and state-based research programs and initiatives to address the rise in suicide rates among Black girls

Priority 7 >

SNAP – Congress should pass the Closing the Meal Gap Act to support a sustained increase in SNAP benefits to raise the baseline benefit for all SNAP households

Priority 8 >

Child Tax Credit – Congress needs to enact legislation to extend 2021 expanded CTC temporary increases and make the monthly child allowance payments permanent

Priority 9 >

Childcare for Working Families – Congress needs to pass the Childcare Working Families Act

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