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2023 Future of Black Communities Summit

The Joint Center's one-day summit is dedicated to exploring the current challenges facing Black communities and proposing solutions for the future.


Watch the entire program below.


Opening Reception

Jessica Fulton Lisa D. Cook Paul Thornell
Dr. Lisa Cook, Federal Reserve Board Member, received the Louis E. Martin Great American Award. Read her speech here.

Opening Remarks

Jessica Fulton, Joint Center Interm President and VP, Policy, and Paul Thornell, Joint Center board chair, provided opening remarks.

Fireside Chats

Dorothy Brown, Professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center, and Melissa Hellmann, investigative journalist, Center for Public Integrity discussed the impacts of tax policy for Black communities.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Paul Thornell, Joint Center Board Chair, discussed his role with the Banking Committee and what the future of bipartisanship looks like on housing issues and digital assets.

Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman, Federal Communications Commission, and Dr. Dominique Harrison, tech policy expert, discussed technology policy priorities within Black communities.

Luncheon Speaker

Dr. Lael Brainard, Director, White House National Economic Council provided remarks on expanding capital access and breaking down barriers to wealth building and building pathways to economic opportunity. Read her remarks here.


Advancing Digital Equity for Black Communities

In an increasingly digital world, ensuring equitable access to broadband and digital tools has become a pressing societal change, particularly within the Black community. This panel explored the digital equity issues that uniquely impact our community and highlight a wide range of solutions and strategies that are instrumental in creating a more inclusive digital future. Listen to the insightful conversation regarding broadband access and affordability, digital literacy, and the collective effort needed to bridge the digital divide within the Black community.


  • Dr. Jon Gant, Director, Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Sean Mickens, Associate Vice President of External Affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal
  • Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, Senior Fellow of Governance Studies and Director of the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution
  • Justice Ukadike, Manager, Senior Analyst, U.S. Government Affairs & Public Policy, Google
    • Moderator: Anthony Green, Senior Producer, Art Director, and Co-Creator, SHIFT, MIT Technology Review

Implementing Inclusive Industrial Policy

In recent years, policymakers have passed significant legislation to invest in American jobs, communities, and workers. The investments included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act have the potential to change the economic realities of Americans across the income spectrum. Including Black communities in these conversations is critical for ensuring the success of Black workers, Black communities, and Black businesses. This discussion focused on the opportunities and risks associated with industrial policy implementation.


  • Talisha Bekavac, Executive Vice President, U.S. Black Chambers
  • Joelle Gamble, Deputy Director, White House National Economic Council
  • Stephanie Mash Sykes, Special Assistant to the President for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Dr. Valerie Wilson, Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, Economic Policy Institute
    • Moderator: Talmon Joseph Smith, Economics Reporter, The New York Times

Investments in Racial Equity

Many entities made specific commitments to advance racial justice following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. The current political climate, buoyed by “anti-woke” rhetoric and the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, however, has led many organizations to pull back on investments in racial equity for fear of social or political pushback. How can stakeholders ensure that society does not regress on racial equity?


  • Amber Bond, Executive Vice President and COO, African American Alliance of CDFIs
  • Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Samantha Tweedy, Chief Executive Officer, Black Economic Alliance
    • Moderator: Janell Ross, Senior Correspondent on Race and Identities, TIME

Advancing Staff Diversity

How can we improve racial diversity among top congressional staffers, presidential appointees, and agency staff? For decades, companies and foundations have invested in important internship and fellowship programs that open doors to entry-level government positions for diverse college students and early-career policy professionals. And the federal government has served as an important employer for Black Americans seeking economic mobility. Diversity among presidential appointees and congressional staff continues to lag behind that of federal government staff. And as many federal staff reach retirement age in the coming years, the federal government will likely face challenges in diversity, equity, and inclusion. This panel highlighted recent advances and continuing challenges for Black representation among government staff, presidential appointees, and congressional staff, as well as explored the best practices to achieve better outcomes.


  • Michael Hughes, Diversity Program Manager, Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
  • Erica Loewe, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for Public Engagement, The White House
  • Michelle Persaud, Director and Chief Counsel of Strategic Alliances and External Affairs, T-Mobile
  • Will Reese, Director of the Senate Diversity Initiative, Democratic leadership office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
    • Moderator: Elliot Williams, CNN legal analyst and Principal in the Raben Group’s Government Affairs Practice Group

Closing Remarks

Jessica Fulton, Joint Center Interim President and Vice President, Policy, provided closing remarks.

Special thanks to our staff, sponsors, speakers, and Board of Governors who helped bring our 2023 Future of Black Communities Summit to you.


Google T-Mobile Meta Comcast NBCUniversal

Charter Communications W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Uber Lumina Foundation Northern Trust Verizon