On May 17th, Tianna Gaines-Turner, Site Representative of Witnesses to Hunger: Philadelphia, testified before the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity. The event itself was a forum about the 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report, a 1967 Congressional report exploring racism, poverty, and segregation in America, and was focused on discussing strategies to address the poverty, racial injustice, and economic inequalities that endure 50 years after the Kerner Report’s release.
Tianna gave powerful testimony about her experiences with racism and discrimination, and implored members of Congress and the attending members of the press to strengthen their efforts to confront systemic antiblack racism and white supremacy in their everyday practice. In her testimony, Tianna highlighted how antiblack racism and white supremacy are entrenched and perpetuated in our society through the disproportionate access to food security, affordable housing, education, and employment between white communities and black communities.
“The Kerner Report spoke of the need for action,” Tianna urged, “It called for a compassionate, massive, and sustained movement backed by real resources. It urged every American to have new attitudes, new understanding, and, above all, a new will.” We at Witnesses to Hunger hope that members of Congress take Tianna’s words to heart, and work together to build a more equitable society for all families.
“While I appreciate the opportunity to come here today to share my experiences, I am saddened that this is a conversation we are still having in America. In 1968, a Presidential Commission clearly identified the issues around racism and ways to address it.”–Tianna Gaines-Turner