Joint Center Updates
The Joint Center grows its Board of Governors with experts on voting rights, education, and tech policy
Washington, D.C. – The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is pleased to announce three new board members — LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, Michael Collins, vice president of Jobs for the Future, and Dr. Safiya Noble, MacArthur Fellow and associate professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
“The Joint Center is growing in new and exciting ways. As we execute our strategy to maximize our impact in areas critical to Black communities, LaTosha, Michael, and Safiya will play a key role in moving us forward,” said Joint Center Board Chair Barbara Johnson. “They all bring critical expertise and experience to our stellar Board of Governors, and I’m honored to have them on the Joint Center’s board.”
Each of the new board members has either worked with or supported the work of the Joint Center in the past.
In 2020, during a critical election year when voting procedures were in flux, we facilitated Black civic participation by organizing two virtual briefings on the unique challenges faced by Black voters during the pandemic and solutions. LaTosha partnered with us on this effort.
Michael’s work is closely aligned with our Workforce Policy platform. He is a powerful advocate for taking bold and race-conscious approaches to training and education policies that ensure Black workers are not left behind.
In 2020, Safiya helped us frame our economic policy agenda for Black communities in the wake of COVID-19 and the national push against systemic racism. She also joined our 50th anniversary program — The Eddie Williams Future of Black Communities Leadership Summit — for a fireside chat on Black America, technology, and the economy.
“The Joint Center board, staff, and I are fortunate to be able work with these innovative leaders,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton. “Whether it involves protecting voting rights, workforce and education policy that centers Black employees, or tackling racial injustice in the tech space, we are now better positioned to meet the needs of the Black community by producing ground-breaking research for actionable policy solutions.”
LaTosha is an award-winning visionary thought leader, institution builder, cultural activist and artist, and connector. She is a nationally recognized “go-to” expert in Black voting rights and voter suppression, Black women’s empowerment, and philanthropy. LaTosha is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, Black Voters Matter Fund, and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. These institutions are community investment and power building models designed to build capacity of Black led organizations and boost Black voter registration and turnout, as well as increase political power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities.
Michael is a vice president at Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national non-profit that accelerates the alignment and transformation of the American education and workforce systems to ensure economic advancement for all. He leads the Racial Economic Equity Initiative, an effort to increase economic opportunity and advancement for Black learners and workers through disrupting occupational segregation, increasing employer uptake of equitable talent practices, and convening to source big ideas, policy incentives, and financial investment to address the Black-white wealth gap.
Safiya is an associate professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at UCLA where she serves as the co-founder and director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2). She holds affiliations in the School of Education & Information Studies, and is a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford where she is a commissioner on the Oxford Commission on AI & Good Governance (OxCAIGG). She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. Safiya is also a member of the class of 2021 in Internet Studies and Digital Media Scholar for the MacArthur Fellows Program, where, aligned with her book, she highlighted the ways digital technologies and internet architectures magnify racism, sexism, and harmful stereotypes.
Read their full bios here.
About the Joint Center: The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, provides compelling and actionable policy solutions to eradicate persistent and evolving barriers to the full freedom of Black people in America. We are the trusted forum for leading experts and scholars to participate in major public policy debates and promote ideas that advance Black communities. We use evidence-based research, analysis, convenings, and strategic communications to support Black communities and a network of allies.