We honor the service and recognize the unique experiences of African American and Black veterans. Black veterans in particular account for 12% of the veteran population in the United States, and unfortunately represent one third of all veterans who experience homelessness. While there have been centuries of racial discrimination in housing, criminal justice, child welfare, and education—entrenched military policies and disparate treatment of Black service members have contributed to homelessness as well.
Each year, about 40-50% of Swords’ veteran clients identified as Black. This significant statistic shows that the Bay Area needs to do more for its African American and Black veterans. At Swords, we aim to provide accessible, culturally congruent avenues to care that recognize the specific disparities Black veterans face while and after serving in the military, such as the fact that Black veterans are most likely to be discharged less than honorably.
Many of the freedoms and privileges American citizens live with today are thanks to the work and sacrifices of Black veterans. In acknowledgment of Black History Month, Swords to Plowshares emphasizes its mission to serve all veterans. In order to alleviate the wounds of war, it is mandatory for veteran advocates to address the specific disparities Black veterans have historically faced and continue to experience.