Some members of Congress are turning their focus from discrimination against African-Americans to discrimination against African-Europeans.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), ranking Democratic member of the Helsinki Commission, introduced a resolution yesterday that outlines instances of racial profiling in the UK, France, and Germany and recognizes injustices against black Europeans.
The bill urges European governments to draft hate-crime laws, revise textbooks, combat inequality, and institute hiring practices similar to affirmative action.
An estimated seven to 10 million individuals of African descent currently live in Europe, particularly in France, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, Hastings noted.
“The story of Black Europeans remains widely untold, rendering many of their past and present contributions to the political and social life of Europe invisible or forgotten. Furthermore, similar to the experiences of many African Americans, they have increasingly become the targets of discrimination, pernicious racial profiling, and violent hate crimes impacting equal access to housing, employment, education, and justice,” he said.
Hastings met this week with 10 leaders of the black European community for a Helsinki Commission briefing.
“Their personal testimonies offered a raw and honest glimpse into the realities of many Blacks living in Europe, and provided an opportunity for lawmakers, human rights advocates, and others to interface on solutions to addressing issues of inequality, discrimination, and inclusion in the 57 North American and European countries that make up the region of the OSCE,” he said.
The congressman summed up his resolution as calling “for the adoption of a Joint US-European Union Action Plan to develop transatlantic solutions to combat racial discrimination and promote racial equality in Europe.”
“I believe that our government can do more to help advance human rights and inclusion, including more partnerships with Black European communities and the public and private sectors; increased parliamentary activities such as legislation and policy, speaking out against racism, and increasing the political participation of racial minorities; and working with the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),” Hastings said.
“This resolution reaffirms the importance of inclusion and the full and equal participation of people of African descent around the world in all aspects of political, economic, social, and cultural life.”