Joint Center News: July 31, 2017

In July, we nailed down the plan for our innovation work and continued to build our database of Black talent for Hill staff positions. We’re also looking to hire an Office Manager. Details below!


Joint Center Topics–The Future of People of Color:After 7 months of research, we’re excited to unveil our five innovation topic areas. Ultimately, our work will answer the following questions: How will automation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and other innovations affect communities of color? How can we mitigate challenges like job loss? How can we take advantage of new opportunities?Please watch our 2-minute video about our innovation work.
Here are our five topics:

  1. Future of Work
  2. Equitable Development & Wealth Creation
  3. Smart Cities
  4. The Future of Rural Communities of Color (2018)
  5. Data Analytics (2018)

Joint Center Attends National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL) Conference:The Joint Center’s Adzi Vokhiwa attended the NOBEL Women’s 32nd Annual Legislative Conference on July 1 and spoke on the “Stay Woke: #PolicyforthePeople” panel. During the panel, Adzi highlighted the importance of investing in youth workforce development, the role new technologies can play in stimulating economic development, and the Joint Center’s recent report,5G, Smart Cities & Communities of Color. The conference was attended by more than 100 black women elected officials and activists from across the country.
Joint Center at MMTC’s Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference:On July 20, Joint Center President Spencer Overton spoke at the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council’sFinancing America’s Futureconference on the panelInfrastructure, Supplier Diversity, and the Jobs of the Future – The Economic Impact of Broadband Infrastructure Investment under the Trump Administration. Spencer talked about investments in broadband infrastructure in rural communities of color, new economy workforce development, and building a pool of minority contractors to install 5G infrastructure.

#ADayofEquity for 5G:In conjunction with the Marguerite Casey Foundation’s #DayofEquity project, the Joint Center produced a Day of Equity in 5G video. #ADayofEquitywould look like the fifth generation of wireless technology (5G) being accessibleto all working families of color, greater access to online education and workforce training, diverse contractors and workers installing new 5G infrastructure, and opportunities for working families to access new economy jobs.Click here for the 2-minute video.

Google Fellows and Summer Interns:The Joint Center is excited to host Google Public Policy Fellows for the first time this summer. Yanelle Bonilla and Ron Busby, Jr. are working on innovation projects. We also welcomed another six interns into the office: Austin Clark, Claire Crawford, Zemia Edmondson, Justin Edwards, Aubrey Favors, and Glenn Jones. The interns are working on innovation projects, the Black Talent Initiative, the Black Elected Officials Roster, and more. You can read more about each Google Fellow and summer internhere.

Joint Center at NAACP Convention on the Future of African Americans:On Wednesday, July 26, Joint Center President Spencer Overton spoke on a plenary panel at the NAACP Convention in Baltimore with former Leadership Conference President Wade Henderson, NAACP LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherilynn Ifill, Advancement Project Executive Director Judith Browne-Dianis, and NAACP Texas Chapter President Gary Bledsoe(pictured above with new NAACP Interim President & CEO Derrick Johnson, a key Joint Center partner). Spencer talked about the Joint Center’s work on the impact of automation and other innovations on Black workers and businesses and the future of voting rights. More here.

How Black Mayors Can Bridge the Digital Divide:African American Mayors Association (AAMA) Executive Director Stephanie Mash Sykes recently spoke to WashingTECH’s Joe Miller on the effect of technology on African Americans, from the digital divide to job loss due to automation. Listen to the full episode here.

Google Welcomes New Diversity Chief:Since its latest diversity report, Google has hired Danielle Brown, a former diversity and human resources officer for Intel. Learn more here.

Microsoft Rural Broadband Initiative:Microsoft recently announced its new initiative that attempts to close the rural broadband gap in the United States. Read more here.

Morgan Stanley’s Innovation Lab:Morgan Stanley is opening an innovation lab in New York to elevate tech talent and support startups led by women and people of color. Startups will begin by pitching their ideas during a four-month period which will conclude with a symposium for the top candidates. The bank will invest $200,000 into the ventures of successful applicants.Learn more here.

CBC Members Concerned About Impact of Amazon-Whole Foods Merger on African Americans:U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and other CBC members penned a letter to the DOJ/FTC expressing concerns about the proposed merger between Amazon.com and Whole Foods.The group is pushing for an investigation into whether the deal will increase or reduce the number of food deserts. Read the full letter here.
Congressional Staff Should Represent America:Black Talent Initiative Director Don Bell penned an op-ed inThe Hilldiscussing the implications of the recent staff demographics report released by Senate Democrats. Read his full article here
Jennifer DeCasper Receives WGRG Tin Cup Award for Diversity:On July 19, the Washington Government Relations Group presented Jennifer DeCasper, Chief of Staff to Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), with the Augustus F. Hawkins Award for playing a leading role in the diversity movement on Capitol Hill. Congratulations Jennifer!

New Report on Diversity of State Democratic Party Staff:Inclusv recently published a report on racial diversity among Democratic state party staff. It found that of the 401 staffers from 41 States, 68% were white, 14.5% African American, 8.2% Latino, and 3.7% AAPI. By comparison, of Democratic or Democratic leaning registered voters, about 57% are white, 21% African American, 12% Latino, and 3% AAPI (according to a 2016 Pew study). Read the full report here.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson:In partnership with INSIGHT America, on July 27 the Joint Center hosted a breakfast featuring HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson as the keynote speaker. Secretary Carson spoke on broadband access, economic development, and wealth creation in communities of color. Learn morehere.

The Joint Center is looking to hire an Office Manager. The Office Manager will support the President and COO through scheduling, travel planning, and other administrative tasks. Additionally, the Office Manager will provide staff and office maintenance support (e.g., basic IT support, assistance with financial management, facilitation of the day-to-day operations of the Joint Center). We want a professional and team-oriented self-starter with 2+ years of experience in administrative support who is committed to the advancement of the African-American community. $40K salary with excellent benefits. Details here.
  • In August, Joint Center President Spencer Overton will attendtheCongressional Black Caucus Institute’s premier annual policy conference in Tunica, Mississippi. The conference will elicit diverse thoughts on issues affecting the quality of life in African-American communities throughout the U.S. Click here to register.
  • On July 13-22, theMarch on Washington Film Festivalorganized several events featuring speakers like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Diahann Carroll, Anthony Foxx, Henry Louis Gates, Eric Holder, and many others. The cultural event celebrated films about several civil rights luminaries, including U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith and L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley. Watch the 2-minute video trailer here.
The Joint Center was founded in 1970 as the Black think tank (history here). Today, the Joint Center remains anchored in the Black community and collaborates closely with organizations from other communities, like the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. We focus on the impact of automation, artificial intelligence, and other innovations on the future of work, economic development, and quality of life in communities of color. We also work to increase diversity among staff in Congress. Click here for our 2017-18 plan.