Joint Center Updates
April 25, 2022
April is a special month in Joint Center history as this year marks our organization’s 52nd anniversary. Throughout our rich history, the Joint Center has been on the vanguard of political and economic progress on behalf of Black American communities. From helping to establish several Black organizations to convening prominent Black leaders, the Joint Center has directly spearheaded progress for all Black American communities. As our methods may have evolved, we are proud to have continuously contributed to public policy discourse that centers Black communities and voices in national conversations to ensure that we are not left out.
This month, to commemorate our organization’s anniversary, we released our newly-designed annual report, highlighting our 2021 accomplishments. We are delighted to build upon our legacy of substantive and tangible impacts toward policies that enhance the lives of all Black Americans.
On top of our annual report release, this was a very busy month for the Joint Center. Read below to learn more about the Joint Center’s contributions to political and economic studies this past month.
Joint Center celebrates 52nd Anniversary with a newly-designed annual report: This month, the Joint Center released our 2021 annual report. This document highlights our accomplishments that promoted ideas that advanced Black communities.
From our recommendations on pandemic relief for Black families that were passed into law in the American Rescue Plan to our research on the lack of broadband in the Black Rural South that became the foundation for critical provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we worked to ensure that Black voices and needs were represented in policy debates, convenings, and solutions.
If the Joint Center’s impact moves you, donate here.
Exploring challenges for small-business owners across race: Jessica Fulton, Joint Center vice president of policy, released a report, “Exploring Challenges for Small-Business Owners Across Race.” This report emphasizes disparities for Black business owners in obtaining capital and other resources to support their small businesses.
“Our report shows what so many have always known to be true: Black businesses have long faced significant barriers to success, and these issues were only worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fulton. “Now, more than ever, lawmakers must introduce and pass the policies needed to ensure that more Black businesses are given a fighting chance at not only surviving but thriving.”
The report was covered by Black Star News.
Federal workforce trainings programs frequently fail to track data by race: The Joint Center released a report entitled “Improving Training Evaluation Data to Brighten the Future of Black Workers.” Research reveals that too few federal/federally-funded workforce training programs track outcomes by race and outlines key recommendations for improving results and achieving greater equity for Black participants in workforce training programs.
“Without evaluating these programs based on race, we’re flying completely blind about potential racial disparities. Programs like these have historically been rife with structural inequity, and the first step in correcting it is to understand precisely where, and to what degree, it exists,” said Dr. Alex Camardelle, director of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center and co-author of the report.
The report was featured in The Hill.
Senate shouldn’t hesitate on Earned Income Tax Credit: Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton penned an op-ed in The Hill supporting Earned Income Tax Credit expansion.
Advocating for a fair tax policy: For Tax Day, the Joint Center tweeted in support of policies that advocate for Congress to extend the monthly Child Tax Credit checks.
The Joint Center has researched potential improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit to support Black workers.
Black Women’s Best contributions: Jessica Fulton, Joint Center vice president of policy, was one of 40 Black women contributors to a congressional report titled An Economy for All: Building a Black Women Best Legislative Agenda, and the accompanying Black Women Best Seal of Approval Scorecard. Developed by the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls in partnership with Liberation in a Generation, the report seeks to establish a clear policy agenda that will address inequities that have disproportionately burdened Black women and girls — delivering an inclusive economy for everyone in the process. The scorecard serves as a tool to help policymakers and stakeholders design and evaluate policy to ensure it is inclusive and produces equitable outcomes.
“For everyone to thrive in the economy, policymakers must dismantle the structural barriers that limit Black women’s economic freedom,” said Fulton. “Making Black women’s economic health a centerpiece of federal policymaking will not only address generational harm but is also critical for the success of the overall economy. Now we have a scorecard to ensure policies deliver shared transformative change.”
Please take this survey to help inform the Workforce Policy Program strategic plan: Our Workforce Policy Program seeks your input to identify areas of opportunity for the program to better support a more racially just recovery for Black workers and jobseekers and maximizing future work opportunities for Black workers. This survey will inform research and policy priorities for the program going forward.
Racial Diversity Among U.S. Senate State Directors: Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson penned a blog post on racial diversity in Senate state director staff offices. Her research finds that although people of color make up 40 percent of the U.S. population, they only make up 24.2 percent of Senate state directors. Latina/os, African Americans, Native Americans, and Middle Eastern/North African are underrepresented among Senate state directors compared to their percentage of the U.S. population.
Clockwise: Joint Center president with LaTosha Brown (co-founder, Black Voters Matter and Joint Center board member); Kimberly Tignor (executive director, She Will Rise); Rashad Robinson (president, Color of Change); Michael Hyter (president & CEO, Executive Leadership Council); and Elise Boddie (professor, Rutgers Law School), Damon Hewitt (president & executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law), and Danielle Holley (dean, Howard Law School).
Celebrating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson at the White House: Joint Center President Spencer Overton celebrated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic confirmation to the Supreme Court at the White House with many of the Joint Center’s Black Talent Initiative partner organization leaders (as pictured above).
The Joint Center’s Black Talent Initiative is a coalition of over 40 Black organizations advocating for fair Black representation in presidential appointments. Since President Biden’s inauguration, the Joint Center produced data on the impending retirement of Black appellate judges and urged President Biden to prioritize nominating Black appellate judges (Judge Jackson was among the president’s first nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals). The Joint Center also worked behind the scenes to mobilize letters and statements of support for the president’s Supreme Court nominee, hosted a virtual event with White House officials and top Black leaders to keep Black organizations informed about the Senate confirmation process, and consistently circulated updates and action items to Black organizations throughout the confirmation process. Here’s the Joint Center’s statement celebrating Judge Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Connecting racial equity to public policy: Spencer was featured in a Foundations on the Hill panel addressing the intersectionality of racial equity and public policy and its importance when engaging in the advocacy process. This event was sponsored by the United Philanthropy Forum, in partnership with the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector. View the recording here.
In Case You Missed It
Joint Center welcomes three new staff members: We are excited to announce that Kendall Easley, Brian Kennedy, and Justin Nalley have recently joined the Joint Center team. Easley, a communications associate, is the newest member of the Communications team, while Kennedy and Nalley are senior policy analysts on the Workforce Policy team.
Read their bios here.
The Joint Center is seeking a research analyst. The successful candidate will assist the Joint Center’s senior researcher in conducting research and public education on Hill diversity and various political topics of particular importance to Black communities. The candidate will be responsible for a variety of non-administrative tasks, including preparing and maintaining datasets, creating graphs and figures for reports, and providing other support in a detailed and highly accurate manner. Read the full description here.
Black Worker Bill of Rights: In observance of May Day, working with the Black Worker Policy Coalition, we will bring together workers, artists, activists, advocates, and concerned citizens to participate in the official launch of the campaign to win a Black Worker Bill of Rights. This will be a virtual rally on Zoom and Facebook with watch parties in different cities. The coalition’s goal is to announce the campaign, build awareness and engagement, hear from workers, worker leaders, and advocates about its importance, and engage participants in a call to action, May 2 at 7 p.m. ET.
Joint Center welcomes Rep. Steven Horsford: We invite you to join Joint Center President Spencer Overton in a robust, one-hour conversation with Rep. Steven Horsford, who serves on the House Ways & Means Committee (and co-leads its Racial Equity Initiative), the House Budget Committee, and the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Horsford also serves as First Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. We’ll talk about tax policy, budget priorities, appointments, and other public policy issues that affect Black communities.
Please RSVP here for the May 4 event to receive a confirmation email with Zoom instructions.