Joint Center Updates
Shalanda Young confirmed as director of the Office of Management and Budget: The Senate confirmed Shalanda Young to serve as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by a vote of 61 to 36. For the past year, she served as the acting OMB director. Ms. Young was the first Black person to serve as House Appropriations staff director, and will be the first woman of color to serve as OMB director.
In March 2021, the Joint Center submitted a letter signed by nearly 30 Black organizations calling for President Biden to nominate Ms. Young for director of the White House OMB.
President Biden working to install a diverse class of U.S. attorneys: While the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court has captured national attention, USA Today reports that President Biden’s nominations for U.S. attorney posts represent a major turn toward unprecedented diversity. If confirmed, Judge Brown Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the High Court, and Black nominees comprise 48 percent of Biden’s choices for U.S. attorney positions.
Black people were undercounted in the 2020 census: According to a report released by the U.S Census Bureau, the Black, Latina/o, and Native American populations were undercounted in the 2020 census, Politico reports. However, white and Asian people were overcounted. President Biden’s Census Bureau Director Robert Santos, who was confirmed after the 2020 census was completed, noted that although the overall count remains consistent with previous iterations, the 2020 minority population undercount presents “limitations” presented by the over and undercount. The Black population was undercounted at a rate of 3.3 percent, up from 2.1 percent in 2010. The COVID-19 pandemic was a significant hurdle through this census process, impacting the Census Bureau’s ability to achieve the most accurate count.
The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law addressed the undercounting of Black, Latinao/oa, and Native American communities in the 2020 Census, citing the consequences as serious. Lawyers Committee President and Executive Director Damon Hewitt says the undercount “exacerbates underfunding of our communities because Census data is used as the basis for hundreds of billions of dollars of federal, state, and local appropriations each year.” In a separate statement, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights urged Congress to address the undercount by ensuring that the Census Bureau “has the resources to conduct the necessary research and planning activities for a fair and accurate count.”
Congressional redistricting battle in Florida puts Black representation in Congress at risk: A district represented by Florida’s only Black congressman, Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL), hangs in the balance in a battle between the Republican-led state legislature and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), The Washington Post reports. The dispute over redrawing/redistricting political maps could wipe out Congressman Lawson’s district and place eight counties with large Black populations in congressional districts represented by white Republicans. A redrawn map that would have left Congressman Lawson’s 5th Congressional District intact, now faces the challenge of a map presented by Governor DeSantis that boosts Republican seats and eliminates the 5th District.
Upcoming congressional hearings include: HBCUs at Risk: Examining Federal Support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (House Oversight and Reform Committee, March 17); The Targeting of Black Institutions: From Church Violence to University Bomb Threats (House Homeland Security Committee, March 17 ); Hearings To Examine The Nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the District of Columbia, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Senate Judiciary Committee, March 21-24).
The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) marked the beginning of Janai Nelson’s tenure as the organization’s president and director-counsel, succeeding Sherrilyn Ifill in the first-ever woman-to-woman leadership transition in the organization’s 82-year history. “As we have for more than 80 years,” says Nelson, “LDF will continue to defend the heart and soul of our democracy by utilizing all of the tools and tactics at our disposal, including organizing, advocacy, legislation, public education, research, and litigation.”
The LDF joined with other civil rights groups to file a federal lawsuit challenging newly drawn state House and Senate district maps as unlawfully minimizing the voting strength of Black Louisianans. The lawsuit asserts that the maps deny Black residents an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Leadership Conference announced that civil rights attorney and activist Maya Wiley will assume the role of president and CEO of The Leadership Conference and its sister organization, The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Ms. Wiley, also an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst, will assume the roles on May 2. She will succeed Wade Henderson, who had served as interim president and CEO since January 2021.
The National Urban League (NUL) lauded the passage of FY Omnibus Spending Package by Congress. NUL President and CEO Marc Morial said, “The funding in this year’s Omnibus package will help the nation continue to recover from the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and the Trump Era and provide the Urban League Movement with critical resources needed to enhance underserved communities across the country.” The Joint Center also noted that the passage of the spending bill brings America “one step closer to ensuring Black federal workers aren’t unjustly shouldering a government shutdown.”
The 25th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit will be March 21-23.
The National Action Network Convention 2022 will be at the Sheraton Times Square New York Hotel in New York City, April 6-9.
Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton will be a panelist at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Race for Results report virtual event April 11 at 11 a.m. ET.
The National Organization of Black County Officials 36th Annual Economic Development Conference will be in (Shelby County) Memphis, TN, April 20.
The African American Mayors Association 2022 Annual Conference, “The Time for Transformation In Our Cities,” will be in Washington, DC, April 27-20.
The National Urban League Annual Conference 2022 will be in Washington, D.C., July 20-23.