2015: A Wonderful Year for the Joint Center

2015 was an amazing year for the Joint Center!

Over 87% of people of color in the U.S. live in just 25 states (over 104 million people).  We are focused on providing innovative ideas, data, analysis, and policy solutions to elected officials in leadership positions who serve these communities of color (e.g., mayors, city council presidents, county executives, county commission chairs, state legislative floor leaders and committee chairs, and members of Congress).
We are also providing infrastructure for thought leadership in communities of color through research and events.
Highlights of 2015 include:

  • Roundtables for Top Elected Officials
    • June Roundtable: This three-day event on technology, financial services, energy workforce, and criminal justice brought 25 leading elected officials of color (state legislative floor leaders, committee chairs, and city council presidents) to Washington, DC.  The 25 elected officials met at the U.S. Capitol Complex, the White House EEOB, and GW Law School with U.S. Senator Cory Booker, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Democratic Whip U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer,  Congressional Black Caucus Chair G.K. Butterfield, U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott, Financial Services Ranking Member Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member U.S. Congressman John Conyers, former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts, former NAACP President & CEO & Kapor Capital Partner Benjamin Todd Jealous, National Telecommunications and Information Administration Administrator Larry Strickling, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, White House Director of Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, & Opportunity Roy Austin, and many others.
    • December Roundtable:  This three-day event on voting, lessons of Detroit, and workforce development at the U.S. Capitol Complex, GW Law School, and the White House EEOB featured 25 state legislative floor leaders, committee chairs, county commission chairs, tribal chairs, mayors, and city council presidents of color. The officials met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Asian Americans Advancing Justice President Mee Moua, NALEO Executive Director Arturo Vargas, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General Justin Levitt,Brookings VP and Metropolitan Policy Program Director Bruce Katz, Former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy President George W. “Mac” McCarthy PhD, Skillman Foundation President Tonya Allen, Detroit Deputy Mayor Isaiah McKinnon PhD, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President Don Graves, Sabio Coding Bootcamp Co-Founder Liliana Aide Monge, U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration Eric Seleznow, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Jerry Abramson, White House Director of Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, & Opportunity Roy Austin, U.S. House Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, and many others.
  • Reports
    • 50 Years of the Voting Rights Act:  This 46-page report provided data on voter turnout, the number of elected officials of color, and racially polarized voting in the 50 years since the passage of the Voting Right Act of 1965.  The report was featured in the Washington Postthe Nation,and other major publications.
    • Diversity Among Top Senate Staff:  This 31-page report revealed that Latinos make up 16% of the population but only 2% of top Senate staff, and that African-Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population but less than 1% of top Senate staff.  It provided six key recommendations for increasing diversity among top Senate staff.  The report garnered feature stories in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and other publications, as well as mentions on Fox News, NBC’s Today Show, and many other news outlets.
  • Hosted Events
    • Gun Violence, Policing, and Mass Incarceration in Impacted Communities:  We organized four all-day sessions to hear from impacted communities on the intersection of race, gun violence, mass incarceration, and policing in impacted communities.   We met in Washington, DC at GW Law School and the White House (June), in Richmond, VA (October) at Virginia Union University, in Milwaukee, WI (November), and Stockton, CA (December).  The sessions collectively featured over 150 people, including religious leaders, youth activists, former incarcerated persons, law enforcement and other government officials, scholars, civil rights activists, gun violence prevention activists, and criminal justice reform advocates.  We are partnering with the Joyce Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, and the Urban Institute to produce a report compiling findings from these meetings.
    • Commissioner Policy Breakfast: We hosted a breakfast with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, California Public Utilities Commissioner Catherine Sandoval, and several other Public Service Commissioners of color to discuss energy, telecom, and technology challenges faced by people of color.
    • Political Scientists Session: We hosted a Joint Center session at the National Conference of Black Political Scientists 2015 Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
    • Voting Panel in Selma: We hosted a panel at the Selma Public Library on the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday featuring former NAACP LDF head Ted Shaw and top Joint Center scholars.
    • An Inclusive and Forward Thinking Spectrum Policy: We hosted and spoke on a panel with the Progressive Policy Institute at the Rayburn House Office Building at the U.S. Capitol Complex.
  • Growth
    • New Hiring: This year we hired three new full-time employees–Public Policy Fellow Andrés Macías, Digital Media Strategist Morgan Butler, and Executive Assistant to the President Samone Ijoma.  We also retained Director of Survey Research Dr. Ismail White and Peter Groff, who served as the third African-American State Senate President since Reconstruction.
    • 2015 Finances:  The Joint Center is housed at GW Law School, has no debt, and will continue to grow in 2016. In 2015, the Joint Center enjoyed generous support from several sources, including American Electric Power, American Express, Anheuser Busch, AT&T, BP, CenturyLink, Citi, Comcast / NBC Universal, CTIA, the Democracy Fund, DTE Energy, Edison Electric Institute, ExxonMobil, FedEx, FirstEnergy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Google, GW Law, Honda, Information Technology Industry Council, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Kapor Center, the Kendeda Fund, MasterCard, Microsoft, National Association of Broadcasters, New Venture Fund, Oracle, Pepco, PepsiCo, T-Mobile, the University of Texas at Austin Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Verizon, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Plans for 2016 include:

  • Providing Resources for Elected Officials of Color in Leadership Positions
    • Policy Briefing Papers:  We will publish papers on various policy topics, such as voting, workforce development, lessons of Detroit, technology, financial services, and criminal justice.
    • Policy Videos:  We will produce and release 4-minute policy videos for elected officials of color on various topics, including voting, workforce development, lessons of Detroit, technology, financial services, and criminal justice.
    • June Atlanta Roundtable:  Our three-day June Roundtable in Atlanta will include 25 African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American elected officials of color in leadership positions in southern states.
    • December DC Roundtable:  This three-day Roundtable event for 25 African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American elected officials of color in leadership positions from around the nation will focus on transition issues of importance to elected officials of color.
    • Most Innovative Elected Officials:  We will research, identify, and recognize the 100 Most Innovative & Influential State & Local Elected Officials who serve communities of color in the U.S.
    • Community:  We will use social media, conference calls, and other tools to deepen our network of top elected officials who serve African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and Native American communities (e.g., mayors, city council presidents, county commission chairs, state legislative floor leaders and committee chairs, members of Congress).
    • Roster Of 11,000 U.S. Black Elected Officials: We will partner with technology groups to update the Joint Center’s traditional roster of black elected officials, and support other groups of color in updating Latino and Asian American rosters.
  • Providing Infrastructure for Thought Leadership in Communities of Color
      • Think Tank of Color Lunch:  We will host a monthly lunch of fellows of color from think tanks such as AEI, Aspen, Center for American Progress, the Joint Center, Pew, and Urban Institute.
      • Bipartisan Speakers Breakfast:   We will organize a breakfast series for an ideologically-diverse group of leaders of color, featuring top speakers such as congressional committee chairs and agency heads (co-hosted by INSIGHT America).
  • Diversity in Presidential Appointments: The Joint Center will develop a bank of top candidates of color for presidential appointments (with INSIGHT America).
  • Transition Papers:  The Joint Center will produce papers on issues of importance to elected officials of color to submit to the 2016 presidential transition team.
  • Reports:  We will produce research reports on various topics, such as the connection between racial polarization and political polarization.
  • Public Opinion Surveys:  Under the direction of Director of Survey Research Dr. Ismail White, we will update our platform for regular public opinion/survey research of people of color.