CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “It’s bringing people aware to the conversation you know, bringing people to the table to have that conversation, I think it’s important for us to have that conversation,” Jacequline Kalipeni , who works for the city of Champaign said.

She’s talking about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which is celebrated September 21st.

Advocacy group, Equal Pay Today, says census data shows last year, the wage gap for black women compared to white men was $0.58 for every dollar.

Monica Beasley, who’s an accountant in Champaign says if your talents match up, so should your pay.

“Why should someone, white male for say make more money than I do when I do the exact same work and I produce the same quality of work,” Beasley said.

The American Association of University Women says women take home about 84% of the pay men do.

“I do take a closer look at you know what I’m making compared to those that are probably the same year experience but less credentials should I say are making more money,” Beasley said.

A $6.8 million dollar grant given to the Illinois Department of Employment Security will pay for four major equity projects.

They’ll identify potential inequities in unemployment groups and underrepresented groups.

Jacqueline Kalipeni, who works for the city of Champaign says she’s proud to work as a black woman in the workforce.

“The thing that is amazing about working for like the city organization and being a black women is I don’t have to hide my blackness, I can have my hair the way I want it too, talk about my culture and be as black as I want to be,” Kalipeni said.

Beasley echoes the same message.

“It feels good to be a black woman to know that I created my legacy you know in terms of my business, it’s amazing, it’s a great feeling,” Beasley said.

Beasley says there’s still work to be done for a society to be truly equal in pay.

“We need to start focusing on increasing the minimum wage and producing more job skill training program,” Beasley said.