Why Black Women Must Remain Front and Center

It’s been just over a year since we launched Front and Center—our series centering the low-income Black women of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust guaranteed income project in Jackson, Miss.

From the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, to the cruelty of Mississippi state legislators who refuse to expand postpartum Medicaid access, the disregard displayed toward Black women shows us that our work here is not done.

The Differences Between UBI and Guaranteed Income Reveal the Importance of Equity

Many anti-poverty groups agree that strategically targeted guaranteed income, not universal basic income, is the best path forward to ending poverty, advancing gender and racial equity and supporting low-income Americans.

That’s why guaranteed income programs like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT) focus on low-income Black women to address the deeply entrenched economic inequities caused by systemic racism and sexism. MMT moms have used their monthly payments to go back to school, find stable housing, escape predatory cycles of debt and start their own businesses.

Guaranteed Income As a Path Towards Gender and Racial Justice

Guaranteed income is an essential strategy for centering Black women and their families. It involves consistent payments directed to specific groups, like Black women living in poverty, in order to address economic inequities.

It’s one component of the Black Women Best framework, which has officially entered mainstream political awareness. And it’s a particularly salient time to talk economic solutions: Over two-thirds of voters say the economy is their top concern ahead of the November midterm elections.

Death of Build Back Better Will Hurt Women and Kids the Most

It’s been just over a year since the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was passed, through which the federal government invested in people by giving them stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and an expanded child tax credit that benefited nearly every parent in the country. While there was no shortage of energy from House Democrats and many of their Senate colleagues to pass Build Back Better—ARPA’s successor—the bill stalled in the Senate.

Policies that help women aren’t just the right thing to do—they’re the smart thing to do. Now is not the time to shrink behind austerity politics that prevent our government from meeting the needs of its people, especially those who have always been marginalized.

Guaranteed Income Doesn’t Just Help Low-Income Parents—It Also Improves Their Children’s Brain Development

New research suggests receiving monthly payments—like guaranteed income and the child tax credit—contributes to greater development of cognitive processing skills and increased memory in kids.

This experiment concludes what low-income people have always known—that poverty and the stress associated with it has a negative impact on children’s health. Providing unrestricted monthly payments—instead of complex welfare systems that require parents to jump through confusing hoops—will benefit low-income families across the U.S.

Front and Center: Before a Guaranteed Income and the Child Tax Credit, “I Used To Have to Work Four or Five Jobs To Make Ends Meet”

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“Getting to be part of the Mother’s Trust this year did a lot for me and my family. There’s the financial part that’s so important, but it also helped me show up better for my kids. I don’t think I ever let them down before, but I used to have to work four or five jobs to make ends meet. Having the income coming in on top of my wages from work gave me more time to spend with them since I didn’t have to work extra hours to make sure they had what they needed. It just helped me build myself up—financially, mentally, emotionally—everything you need to really build yourself up.”

The Child Tax Credit Proved Unrestricted Cash Keeps Families Out of Poverty. Without It, Low-Income Families Are Struggling

As the childhood poverty rate rises—from 12 percent in December to 17 percent in January—Black and Latino families are being hit the hardest by the end of the child tax credit payments. Experts estimate that the poverty rate for Black and Latino children will jump to over 25 percent. One reason the CTC was so successful in reducing poverty rates is because it puts unrestricted cash directly into the hands of people who need it most. Over 90 percent of low-income families used the CTC to afford basic needs—food, clothing, school supplies, utilities and rent.

“If I could talk to President Biden, I would tell him that he should make the child tax credit permanent, because so many people are still unemployed and the pandemic is not over,” revealed one low-income mom, I’esha. “And people need help even without a pandemic going on.”

Front and Center: Guaranteed Income Helped Amber Be a Better “All-Around Support System” for her Kids

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“Being part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust helped me out a lot with my bills. It helped me and my kids so much and gave us a lot of support during the pandemic. It also helped me pay for some investments in my own side business of baking.”