Joint Center News: June 22, 2017

In May we lost one of the most important figures in the history of African American politics and policy–former Joint Center President Eddie Williams.In June we kicked off our innovation work with the release of 5G, Smart Cities & Communities of Color. Details below.


Eddie Williams, who served as President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies from 1972 – 2004, passed on May 8, 2017 at the age of 84.“Eddie Williams built an institution that helped a generation of black leaders move from activism into governance, and that informed and inspired a generation of scholars committed to using ideas to change real lives,” said Joint Center Board Chair Barbara Johnson.

Click here for an overview of Eddie’s life,New York TimesandWashington Postobituaries, segments remembering Eddie on Roland Martin’sNewsOne Nowtelevision show and Michel Martin’s All Things Considered onNPR, and statements remembering Eddie from former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Prof. Mary Frances Berry, Rep. Jim Clyburn, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. John Lewis, CBC Chair Cedric Richmond, Rev. Al Sharpton, and many more.

5G, Smart Cities & Communities of Color

New Report: 5G, Smart Cities & Communities of Color: This report details how leaders in communities of color can maximize opportunities and mitigate challenges posed by two transformational technologies: the fifth generation of wireless services (5G) and Smart Cities.The report kicks off the Joint Center’s innovation work, which will help communities of color embrace the future in several areas, including: the Future of Work; Innovation and Economic Development; Smart Cities; the Future of Rural Communities of Color; and Data/Analytics.

Click here for the 2-page executive summary, the 1-page fact sheet, the 2-minute video, a podcast, and the 55-page full report.

Tech Leavers–Retaining Diverse Employees:A new report from Kapor Center finds that Blacks and Latinos–and particularly Black and Latina women–are far more likely to quit jobs in tech than white or Asian men. This failure to retain talent could cost the tech industry up to $16 billion.More here.

Lyft Releases First-Ever Diversity Report:Of Lyft’s 16,000 employees, 6% identify as Black, 7% as Latino, and 42% as female. These numbers do not include Lyft drivers. Among Lyft’s leadership, 1% are Black, 5% are Latino, and 36% are female. More here.


House Leader Nancy Pelosi Pushes for Staff Diversity:On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, Leader Pelosi announced that the Democratic Caucus will take steps to increase staff diversity. The Caucus will launch a House Democratic Diversity Initiative with a full-time staffer who will work to identify and place diverse candidates. It will also develop guidance for Members’ offices on how to implement a version of the “Rooney Rule” (which required NFL teams to interview qualified minority candidates for head coaching vacancies).

Click herefor the Joint Center’s full statement.

Bipartisan Leadership Pushes for Accessible Congressional Internships:Congressmen Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Fred Upton (R-MI) are co-chairing the Congressional Host Committee of College to Congress, a bipartisan nonprofit organization that helps socioeconomically-disadvantaged college students secure congressional internships. The organization, which includes HBCU representation on its Board, provides need-based scholarships to Pell-Grant recipients and pairs student participants with mentors. This is an important step toward increasing Hill staff diversity because internships can often result in jobs.

Click hereto read more.

Senator Cortez-Masto Taking a Leading Role in Democratic Diversity Initiatives:Sen. Cortez-Masto is meeting with women of color on the Hill to create more strategies to increase diversity in Democrats’ offices. Joint Center Black Talent Initiative Director Don Bell sat down withPoliticoto discuss this effort.

Read the full article here.

CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion:More than 150 CEOs of leading companies and organizations have committed to advancing workplace diversity and inclusion, including CEOs of American Electric Power, American Express, Ariel Investments, AT&T, Bank of America, Coca Cola, DTE Energy, Eli Lilly, Exelon, FirstEnergy, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, PepsiCo, TIAA, T-Mobile, Viacom, and Walmart.

See the full list here.
  • The Joint Center’s Board met in May to discuss our ongoing strategic planning process, which we will complete later in 2017.
  • June 2015 Roundtable Alum Stacey Abrams is running for governor of Georgia. She would be the nation’s first Black woman governor.More here.
  • June 2016 Roundtable Alum Representative Gene Wu gave an impassioned speech against a Texas bill that would make it easier to deport undocumented immigrants.Watch here.
  • Open Society Foundations’ Leadership in Government Fellowship Program has opened its application process.Click herefor more information.
  • Professor Sheryll Cashin’s new bookLovingexamines the past and future of interracial intimacy and its cultural and political impact.More here.
The Joint Center is a think tank founded in 1970 to support Black elected officials. Today the organization is focused on the impact of automation, artificial intelligence, and other innovations on communities of color, particularly with regard to the future of work, economic development, and quality of life issues. The Joint Center is also focused on diversity among staff in Congress. Click here for our 2017 plan.