Joint Center News: December 2019

In December, the Joint Center hosted a roundtable discussion with Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL), launched our new website, and shared our 2019 accomplishments. Details below!

2019 Accomplishments

The Joint Center released a 4-minute video and a report detailing our 2019 accomplishments. We shifted the national debate on the future of work to include racial equity. We realized historic gains in congressional top staff diversity—including a 57% increase over 2018 in Black top Senate staff. The Senate also confirmed our recommended nominee for the FCC—Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. We’re looking forward to your support as we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2020 and organize several opportunities to honor the past and envision the next 50 years!

Economic Studies

We hosted the first roundtable in our “A Voice at the Table” series which featured Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL). Congresswoman Kelly is a member of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and joined the Joint Center team and other stakeholders to discuss the future of work, healthcare, consumer protection and data privacy, Census 2020, and other issues that affect Black communities.

Photo Credit: Elena Olivo Photography


Joint Center President Spencer Overton joined award-winning journalist Ray Suarez for The Atlantic’s Future of Work conference. The livestreamed conversation focused on opportunities and challenges for communities of color in the wake of automation in the workplace.

Spencer also presented on the implications for aging African Americans in the future of work to stakeholders at AARP.
Joint Center Economic Director Jessica Fulton participated in Google’s NextGen Summit where she engaged with researchers, advocates, entrepreneurs, and artists on issues at the intersection of tech policy and social justice.

The Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on the Future of Work that focused on preparing workers for the changing economy.

Political Studies

Joint Center Senior Fellow of Diversity & Inclusion Dr. LaShonda Brenson participated in a Partnership for Public Service’s roundtable discussion on strengthening congressional resiliency.

LaShonda also attended the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus’s reception honoring its 42-year history of highlighting diversity and inclusion in the Senate.

The Joint Center joined a powerful network of government, nonprofit, corporate, and community organizations as a 2020 census partner to help ensure a complete and accurate count.

The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress was successfully extended through the end of the 116th Congress after the Joint Center joined over 20 organizations urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Members of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to extend the Select Committee’s mandate for one additional year. Following the extension’s approval, the Select Committee introduced 45 bipartisan recommendations to improve Congress, including making the Office of Diversity and Inclusion permanent.


On his weekly podcast, WashingTECH Host Joe Miller spoke with Baltimore School of Law Professor Michele Gilman on privacy, National Action Network DC Bureau Chief Ebonie Riley on Facebook and civil rights, The Aspen Institute’s Mohamed Abdel-Kader on connecting underrepresented students with international opportunities, and Public Knowledge Policy Counsel Dylan Gilbert on the “changing copyright landscape” for creators and policymakers. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and on WashingTECH’s website. New episodes every Tuesday. Listen here.

In Case You Missed It

The Joint Center launched a new website. Take a look and let us know what you think!

Now Hiring

The Joint Center is seeking a Research Assistant to assist the Joint Center’s Economic Policy Director and Senior Fellow of Diversity & Inclusion in conducting research and public education on various economic and political topics of importance to Black communities. Candidates should apply by January 6, 2020.


The Black Professionals of Prince George’s County is hosting a networking event on Jan. 15 in Largo, MD.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will be honoring the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at “The People’s Holiday” event on Jan. 20 in Washington, DC.

Happy Holidays from the Joint Center!

See you in 2020!