Joint Center June 2015 Roundtable

17
Jun

Joint Center June 2015 Roundtable

In June, the Joint Center convened a group of 25 top state legislative and city council leaders of color for a three-day policy roundtable at the U.S. Capitol Complex, GW Law School, and the White House EEOB. (Click here for a 2-minute video of the leaders describing the event).

The Joint Center researched and carefully selected these 25 participants for their demonstrated innovation and leadership (full list below).  Most of the officials were floor leaders or committee leaders, and they represented geographically diverse cities and states from Washington, DC to Hawaii, as well as African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and Native American communities.

The roundtable focused on four issues critical to the future of communities of color and the nation generally—criminal justice (policing, sentencing), technology (broadband infrastructure, broadband home adoption, entrepreneurship, tech diversity), financial services (challenges of the unbanked, access to capital), and energy workforce.  Generally, the 25 state and local elected officials sat around a large conference table along with a keynote speaker or 2-4 panelists, and another 20 chairs were arranged theater-style for scholars, sponsors, students, non-profit representatives, and other special guests.  To maximize discussion, speakers' opening remarks were limited and framed the issue, and the bulk of the time was devoted to interactive exchange between the speakers and elected officials.  

The challenges, ideas, and solutions shared by experts and elected officials form the foundation of a series of white papers the Joint Center is currently researching and writing.

Wednesday, June 10—Policing and Criminal Justice Reform

The Roundtable kicked off on Wednesday, June 10th at the Dirksen Senate Office Building with a policing and criminal justice session. The United States incarcerates a higher percentage of its racial/ethnic minorities than any other nation, and the lifetime likelihood of imprisonment is 1 in 3 for Black men and 1 in 6 for Latino men (compared to 1 in 17 for White men) according to the Sentencing Project.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul addressed the Roundtable participants with a keynote on criminal justice reform.   Also pictured above are Insight America Executive Director Elroy Sailor and Urban Institute Researcher Jocelyn Fontaine, PhD.

 

U.S. Senator Cory Booker with Illinois Senate Financial Institutions Chair Jacqueline Collins, Jackson City Council President De'Keither Stamps, Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Vincent Sarmiento, and Illinois House Criminal Justice Chair La Shawn Ford. Senator Booker talked with Roundtable participants about criminal justice reform.  

 

Former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts moderated criminal justice sessions. U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott discussed criminal justice reform with Roundtable participants.

 

Bernard Kerik--who was New York City Police Commissioner on September 11, 2001 and also spent time in federal prison--spoke on a criminal justice panel along with Urban Institute Researchers Ryan King and Jocelyn Fontaine PhD, and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon (Napoleon is not pictured here).

 

After moving from the U.S. Senate over to the U.S. House, the state and city leaders talked about criminal justice reform with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member U.S. Congressman John Conyers and floor leadership with Democratic Whip U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer.

 

Government Oversight Ranking Member U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings and Congressional Black Caucus Chair U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield.  Congressman Butterfield, who was instrumental in helping the Joint Center organize the Roundtable, talked with Roundtable participants about key issues in Congress and leadership.

 

Financial Services Ranking Member U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Ranking Member U.S. Congressman William Lacy Clay talked about the challenges of unbanked Americans.

 

Joint Center President Spencer Overton welcomed Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member U.S Congressman Bobby Rush, who spoke on energy workforce issues.

 

An opening reception with an honorary host committee comprised of 73 members of Congress (listed below) allowed the state and city elected officials to enjoy informal conversations with several significant figures.  In this picture, Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson and Jackson City Council President De'Keither Stamps caught up with U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop, and U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott.  Many other luminaries engaged with the state and city elected officials, including Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson, as well as Congressional Black Caucus Chair U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield, U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis, U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and U.S. Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett.

Thursday, June 11—Technology and Financial Services

Thursday morning at GW Law focused on technology. According to the Kapor Center for Social Impact, Latinos and African-Americans accounted for less than 1% of venture capital-funded start up founders. Latinos and African Americans are underrepresented in tech jobs at large tech companies (for example, at Facebook 3% identified as Latino and 1% as African-American). While one study found that Asians and Asian-Americans made up 27% of tech company workers, they represented under 14% of executives.

 

National Telecommunications and Information Administration Administrator Larry Strickling talked about broadband infrastructure (in the background are Maryland House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch, Charlotte City Council Budget Chair Greg Phipps, and Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson).

 

Comcast Public Policy Executive Director Madura Wijewardena, former National Broadband Plan Executive Director Blair Levin, Pew Fellow John Horrigan, PhD, and FCC Official Chanelle Hardy (Chief of Staff to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn) talked about broadband infrastructure and home adoption.

 

Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and Joint Center President Spencer Overton talked to Verizon VP Emilio Gonzalez just before his remarks on broadband, technology, and communities of color.

 

Swiftwing Ventures COO Patrick Gusman (pictured), Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) President Kim Keenan, and WashingTECH President Joseph Miller covered startups/entrepreneurship in non-conventional communities.

 

The tech industry diversity discussion was framed by Google Sr. Policy Advisor Jenny Backus and former NAACP President & CEO & Kapor Capital Partner Benjamin Todd Jealous.

 

Thursday afternoon featured a session on financial services. FDIC Sr. Consumer Research Associate Yazmin Osaki and MasterCard Global Head of Public Policy Shawn Miles led the discussion on challenges of the unbanked (e.g., excessive check cashing fees and abusive payday lending practices). A recent FDIC report found that 53.6% of Black households, 46.4% of Latino households, and 42.3% of American Indian/Alaskan households were unbanked or underbanked. (Unbanked households lack a bank account, and underbanked households have bank accounts but use alternative financial services such as check cashing services, payday loans, rent-to-own services, or pawn shop loans).

 

Potomac Coalition President Larry Parks and U.S. Small Business Administration Assistant Administrator Christopher James led the discussion on challenges to credit availability in homeownership and small business.  Also pictured are West Virginia House Minority Issues Chair Jill Upson, New Orleans City Council President Jason Rogers Williams, and Montana Minority Caucus Chair Carolyn Pease-Lopez.

 

Friday, June 12—Energy Workforce and White House EEOB 

Friday morning at GW Law, the Roundtable turned to energy workforce issues in oil and gas, electricity, and renewables. The energy production and distribution sector accounts for millions of direct and indirect jobs in the United States, many of which do not require a college degree.

 

FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable provided an overview on energy workforce issues.

 

BP VP Ray Dempsey talked about oil and gas workforce development opportunities.

 

EEI Executive Vice President David Owens discussed electricity workforce issues.

 

Pepco Strategic Policy Director Robert Revelle, US Department of Energy Solar Energies Tech Office Director Minh Le, STEM researcher Dr. Carlos Rodriguez, and American Association of Blacks in Energy President Paula Jackson discussed energy workforce.

 
For the afternoon sessions, the state and city officials walked about four blocks to the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building.  Speakers included White House Director of Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, & Opportunity Roy Austin, Public Engagement Advisor Heather Foster, Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Elias Alcantara,  Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Dan Utech, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Rohan Patel, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Jerry Abramson, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Adrian Saenz, and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for My Brother’s Keeper Michael Smith. 
 

Roundtable Participants outside of the West Wing included (front row, left to right): Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Vincent Sarmiento, Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, Jackson City Council President De'Keither Stamps, New Orleans City Council President Jason Rogers Williams, Hawaii Immediate Past Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, North Carolina General Assembly Minority Conference Chair Garland E. Pierce, Illinois Senate Financial Institutions Chair Jacqueline Collins, Georgia Senate Minority Caucus Chair Horacena Tate, (back row, left to right) Houston City Council Vice Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Davis, Illinois House Criminal Justice Chair La Shawn Ford, Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson, Nevada Senate Co-Minority Whip Kelvin Atkinson, Charlotte City Council Budget Chair Greg Phipps, Tennessee Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, Alabama House Minority Chair Darrio Melton (behind Harris), Louisville City Council President David Tandy, and West Virginia House Minority Issues Chair Jill Upson.
 
ROUNDTABLE FEEDBACK
 

"The Joint Center has done a remarkable job of putting together a comprehensive, and more importantly, deep, conversation on a series of issues that relate not only to communities of color, but relate to my responsibility as minority leader.   What I've been most impressed by over the last two days has been the willingness of the participants to engage on issues but also the quality and the caliber of those coming to speak to us, that quality I think is very telling...I find it to be transformative for my work as a leader"

-Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams
 
"It was really educational for me...this is going to help me as a local legislator working with my own state legislators."
-Cleveland City Council Majority Leader Phyllis Cleveland
 
"I think one of the highlights is getting to meet colleagues from across the country. I think everybody's so talented, everybody has so much enthusiasm, everybody really cares about people, and everybody's really in it for the right reasons.  I think the Joint Center is doing a excellent job and I think that they are filling a really important space.  This revival of the Joint Center is a very good thing. I grew up thinking about the Joint Center and hearing good things about the Joint Center. And so to see it reincarnating in this way, with Spencer Overton's leadership, is powerful to me. I'm glad to be a part."
-Tennessee Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris
 
 "It has been exciting and so encouraging to be here and to meet some of the heroes that I have been following for years . . ."
-Montana Minority Caucus Chair Carolyn Pease-Lopez
 
“The whole thing has been a highlight in the sense that I’m seeing that I’m struggling with some the same issues that some of my peers in other areas as struggling with.”  
-New Orleans City Council President Jason Rogers Williams
 
Click here for a brief video of feedback from roundtable participants.
 
Click here to view the Roundtable program.
 
Click here to view event photos.
 

ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS
Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams
Nevada Senate Co-Minority Whip Kelvin Atkinson

Maryland House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch 
Cleveland City Council Majority Leader Phyllis Cleveland
Illinois Senate Financial Institutions Chair Jacqueline Collins
Houston City Council Vice Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Davis
Illinois House Criminal Justice Chair La Shawn Ford
Tennessee Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris
District of Columbia Council Chair Pro Tem Kenyan McDuffie
Hawaii Immediate Past Senate President Donna Mercado Kim
Alabama House Minority Chair Darrio Melton
Colorado House Speaker Pro Tem Dan Pabon
Montana Minority Caucus Chair Carolyn Pease-Lopez
North Carolina General Assembly Minority Conference Chair Garland E. Pierce 
Charlotte City Council Budget Chair Greg Phipps
Maryland Senate Majority Leader & National Black Caucus of State Legislators President Catherine Pugh
Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson
Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Vincent Sarmiento
Jackson City Council President De'Keither Stamps
Louisville City Council President David Tandy
Georgia Senate Minority Caucus Chair Horacena Tate
West Virginia House Minority Issues Chair Jill Upson
Texas State Representative Jason Villalba
New Orleans City Council President Jason Rogers Williams
Baltimore City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young

 

 Front row (left to right):  Raben Group Principal Danielle Deane, District of Columbia Council Chair Pro Tem Kenyan McDuffie, Georgia Senate Minority Caucus Chair Horacena Tate, U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott, Congressional Black Caucus Chair G.K. Butterfield, Illinois Senate Financial Institutions Chair Jacqueline Collins,  Judiciary Committee Ranking Member U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Charlotte City Council Budget Chair Greg Phipps, West Virginia House Minority Issues Chair Jill Upson, Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Vincent Sarmiento, Montana Minority Caucus Chair Carolyn Pease-Lopez, Texas State Representative Jason Villalba.  Second row (left to right): Alabama House Minority Chair Darrio Melton, Tennessee Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, Joint Center Board Chair Barbara Johnson, Jackson City Council President De'Keither Stamps, Democratic Whip U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer, U.S. Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, Baltimore City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young, Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, Nevada Senate Co-Minority Whip Kelvin Atkinson.  Third row (left to right): Louisville City Council President David Tandy, Houston City Council Vice Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Davis, Illinois House Criminal Justice Chair La Shawn Ford, Joint Center Policy and Strategy Officer and former Colorado Senate President Peter Groff,  and Joint Center President Spencer Overton.
 
 
SPONSORS
Platinum:  BP, Edison Electric Institute, Google, Verizon
Gold:  Comcast/NBCUniversal, MasterCard, Microsoft, Pepco
Silver:  American Express, Anheuser Busch, AT&T, ExxonMobil, Honda, National Association of Broadcasters, The University of Texas at Austin Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
Bronze:  American Electric Power, CenturyLink, FirstEnergy Foundation, Information Technology Industry Council, Oracle
 
HONORARY HOST COMMITTEE
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (Honorary Co-Chair)
Congresswoman Judy Chu (Honorary Co-Chair)
Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (Honorary Co-Chair)
Congresswoman Alma Adams
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty
Congressman Sanford Bishop
Congressman Earl Blumenauer
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo
Congressman Robert Brady
Congresswoman Corrine Brown
Congresswoman Lois Capps
Senator Ben Cardin
Congressman André Carson
Congressman Joaquín Castro
Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Congressman William Lacy Clay
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman
Congressman Gerry Connolly
Congressman John Conyers
Congressman Joseph Crowley
Congressman Elijah Cummings
Congressman Daniel Davis
Congressman John Delaney
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
Congresswoman Donna Edwards
Congressman Keith Ellison
Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
Congressman Chaka Fattah
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge
Congressman Al Green
Congressman Alcee Hastings
Congressman Steny Hoyer
Congressman Jim Himes
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
Congressman Hank Johnson
Congresswoman Robin Kelly
Congressman Ron Kind
Senator Angus King
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
Congresswoman Doris Matsui
Congressman Jim McDermott
Congressman Jerry McNerney
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Congresswoman Gwen Moore
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.
Congressman David Price
Congressman Charles Rangel
Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Congressman Cedric Richmond
Congressman Bobby Rush
Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
Congressman Adam Schiff
Congressman Bobby Scott
Congresswoman Terri Sewell
Congressman Brad Sherman
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter
Congressman Albio Sires
Congressman Mark Takai
Congressman Paul Tonko
Congresswoman Norma Torres
Congressman Chris Van Hollen
Congressman Marc Veasey
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

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