There are three co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women & Girls:
Click below to go to the biography for each co-chair.
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman
Bonnie Watson Coleman, a long-time and influential advocate for the people of New Jersey, is currently serving her sophomore term in the United States Congress. Prior to her election as Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Watson Coleman served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly.
The daughter of legendary state legislator John S. Watson, Watson Coleman has continued a family legacy of public service fighting for women, economic and socially disadvantaged populations, and other vulnerable groups in our society. Watson Coleman shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first African-American woman to serve as Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, and the first African-American woman to serve as the Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. Her election to the House of Representatives makes her the first African American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress.
Watson Coleman has led the call for reforms to prisoner re-entry programs, fighting tirelessly to shut the revolving door of recidivism for individuals who have returned from incarceration. During her time as Majority Leader, Watson Coleman convened a year-long series of public hearings on the topic while shepherding through to passage legislation The New York Times called “a model for the rest of the nation,” on prisoner rehabilitation and release.
For her second term as a member of the 115th Congress, Watson Coleman was recently selected by her colleagues as the Vice Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, where she is also Ranking Member of both the Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security and the Task Force on Denying Terrorist Entry into the United States. She also serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In 2016, Watson Coleman was a founder of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, the first House caucus to study policy issues related to the success and accomplishments of that population. Watson Coleman is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. Watson Coleman has championed legislation to protect vulnerable Americans and communities, including gun safety, environmental protection, as well as a package of bills to tackle long term unemployment. Rep, Watson Coleman is also the author of the Healthy MOM Act to allow women to enroll in or change their health coverage if they become pregnant, and the End For-Profit Prisons Act to prohibit the federal government from contracting with for-profit prison corporations.
Watson Coleman graduated from Thomas Edison State College. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and an honorary member of the Girl Scouts of America. She is also a Deaconess at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, N.J.
Watson Coleman and her husband William reside in Ewing Township and are blessed to have three sons; William, Troy, and Jared and two grandchildren; William and Kamryn.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly
Congresswoman Robin Kelly has dedicated her career to public service as an advocate for Illinois families. Since being elected to serve the 2nd Congressional District in 2013, she has worked to expand economic opportunity, community wellness, and public safety across the state, championing numerous initiatives to generate job growth, reduce health disparities, and end gun violence.
Congresswoman Kelly is a Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (the main investigative body of the House), and serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Information Technology, where she has focused her efforts on improving cyber-security, strengthening IT-infrastructure, and encouraging new and emerging technologies. Kelly also serves on the Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on National Security which oversees the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
As the lone Illinois representative on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Congresswoman has laid out a forward-thinking foreign policy vision for the United States and has been an outspoken proponent of diplomacy, international human rights and the need for clear and thoughtful American leadership abroad.
A staunch champion of common sense gun reforms and responsible community policing, Representative Kelly is a Co-Chair of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, was tapped to sit on the House Task Force on Community-Police Relations, and is the author of The 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America, the first-ever Congressional analysis of the nation's gun violence epidemic that offers a blueprint for ending the crisis.
Committed to improving the health and wellness of vulnerable communities across the country, the Congresswoman serves as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, and Co-Chairs the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls. She also Co-Chairs the House Democratic Budget Group and Congressional Diversifying Technology Caucus.
Prior to her election to Congress, Kelly was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, served as Chief Administrative Officer of Cook County (the second largest county in the United States) and was Chief of Staff to Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias - becoming the first African American woman to serve as Chief of Staff to an elected constitutional statewide officeholder.
The daughter of a small business owner and postal worker, Congresswoman Kelly moved to Illinois after high school to attend Bradley University in Peoria, where she earned her B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in counseling. She later received a Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University. She lives in Matteson with her husband, Dr. Nathaniel Horn, and has two adult children, Kelly and Ryan.
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, a Brooklyn native proud of her Jamaican heritage, attended the New York City public schools, graduated from Oberlin College, and was a recipient of the prestigious APPAM/Sloan Fellowship in Public Policy and Policy Analysis.
Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Clarke served on the New York City Council, representing the Fortieth District in Brooklyn.
She succeeded her pioneering mother, former City Council Member Dr. Una S. T. Clarke, making them the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the City Council.
As the representative of the Ninth Congressional District of New York, she has dedicated herself to continuing the legacy of excellence established by the late Honorable Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman and Caribbean American elected to Congress.
As an activist, a community organizer and now as a legislator, Congresswoman Clarke’s boldness, compassion and love for the people has allowed her to become an effective leader and an outspoken advocate on numerous issues of great importance to her constituents.
In the 115th Congress, Congresswoman Clarke serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Committee on Small Business, and the Ethics Committee.
Congresswoman Clarke has demonstrated her capacity for leadership as Chair of the Multicultural Media Caucus, dedicated to eliminating stereotypes in the media and expanding ownership to include communities of color, and as Co-Chair of the Black Women & Girls Caucus, which develops programs to support the aspirations of African American women of all ages.
In addition, Congresswoman Clarke serves as Co-Chair of the Caribbean Caucus, where she has works to build the relationship between the United States and the Caribbean community (CARICOM) on matters of trade, immigration reform, and direct investment through development programs.
Congresswoman Clarke currently resides in the neighborhood where she grew up, in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.