Joint Center Updates


Our Feb. 2022 Work: New Poll on Black American Priorities, Talking January Jobs Report with the NYT & More

Black History Month

Economic Studies

Poll Results
What Black Americans want to hear in President Biden’s SOTU address: The Joint Center released a new survey of Black Americans’ priorities on the economy one year into the Biden-Harris administration. The poll, which spotlights the opinions and attitudes of Black Americans on pressing issues, finds that half of Black Americans are pessimistic about the direction of the country, particularly regarding the economy. “The results of our poll paint a clear picture: the economy may be rebounding, but most Black Americans have yet to feel any actual signs of improvement,” said Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton.

The poll’s findings were featured in The Hill, BET, and Black Star News.

Ensuring an inclusive economic recovery for Black workers: Dr. Camardelle joined the National Skills Coalition’s  2022 Skills Summit Panel Plenary, in response to Ambassador Susan Rice’s Fireside Chat. Dr. Camardelle urged local, state, and federal governments to “pass legislation that goes beyond making sure that white workers are doing well and instead that all workers are doing well.” This is especially true in the context of Black workers, whose unemployment rates are still double that of their white counterparts.

Reframing the conversation around recent jobs numbers: Joint Center Workforce Policy Director Dr. Alex Camardelle was quoted in The New York Times. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics January Jobs Report was optimistic about an American economic recovery, Black Americans are actually not faring better in this stage. Dr. Camardelle states “I still see the administration celebrating the greatest recovery and quickest recovery in our history. We’re saying, ‘Not so fast.’”

Dr. Camardelle offered further analysis on this report in Groundwork Collaborative’s #BeyondTheNumbers Twitter chat.

Black Workers and WIOA

Supporting workers of color under WIOA: Dr. Camardelle joined the Massachusetts Workforce Association in a presentation entitled, “Supporting Workers of Color Under WIOA,” in the Growing Equity Series: Building A More Inclusive and Just Workforce System. In this conversation, Dr. Camardelle noted that “we really strive for a future where all jobs can just be good jobs….Everybody should have dignity in work.”

Shaping the future of work: Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton joined a panel on the future of work at the Sadie T.M Alexander Conference for Economics and Related Fields. Fulton offered insights on how our work environment will continue to change in this modern era.

Political Studies

SCOTUS nominee

First Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court: The Joint Center praises President Biden for nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Jackson is the first Black woman nominated to the high court.

“President Biden made an outstanding choice in nominating Judge Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her experiences clerking for Justice Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court, practicing law, and serving as a federal judge at both the district and appellate levels give her deep insights into the federal judiciary. Judge Jackson’s brilliance, her strong work ethic, and her experiences building consensus while serving on multi-member institutions like the U.S. Sentencing Commission empower her to be an effective and influential justice,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center. “The Supreme Court would be more insightful, more just, and better equipped to ensure ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ for all Americans with Ketanji Brown Jackson as a justice. We urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Jackson.”

Reta Jo

Diversity in the Biden Administration: The Joint Center commended the U.S. Senate for confirming the nomination of Reta Jo Lewis as president and chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. With her confirmation, Ms. Lewis becomes the first Black woman in this role.

Advocating for diversity at all levels: Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson penned a blog post on House staff diversity, especially in senior roles. This post is in direct response to The House Office of Diversity & Inclusion study on diversity and compensation. Among the Joint Center’s many findings, Dr. Brenson’s analysis claims that “African Americans account for 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, but 11.5 percent of House personal office staff.” Additionally, “African Americans are underrepresented in top roles (7 percent) such as chief of staff, legislative director, and communications director relative to the Black population. This latest number only reflects a .5 percent increase from two years ago.”

Dr. Brenson’s research on Capitol Hill diversity disparities was featured in Essence,, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Unionization efforts on Capitol Hill: Dr. Brenson was featured in a recent New York Times article on unionization efforts among Capitol Hill staffers. The article highlights her research on racial diversity patterns in congressional offices. Her research shows “that white aides made about 8 percent more than Black aides do, according to data from 2021, because Black aides were rarely hired to fill the high-level jobs that pay the most.”

The current state of voting rights: Joint Center President Spencer Overton moderated Commissioner Thomas Hicks’s Black History Month panel discussion for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The conversation convened the top federal government officials who oversee various aspects of our election system to discuss the current state of voting rights, election administration, and campaign finance law to discuss what that means for the African American community and other marginalized groups.

Overton also served as guest lecturer for Professor Stephanie Robinson’s Harvard Law Class where he discussed voting rights.

Rutgers Event

Platform immunity and civil rights: Overton joined Rutgers Law School Professor Ellen P. Goodman in a Tech Conversations Series conversation entitled “Platform Immunity and Civil Rights.” In this conversation, they discussed how Section 230 allows social media and other digital platforms to escape responsibility for civil rights violations they profit from.

IG Live Screenshot

Policy opportunities with Rockefeller Foundation: Overton participated in a Black History Month Instagram Live with Gregory Johnson, managing director, U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative, from the Rockefeller Foundation. In this conversation, Overton discussed a wide range of policy opportunities to improve the lives of Black people. This includes voting rights, broadband access, and equitable economic reform.

In Case You Missed It

JC History

Celebrating Black History Month: The Joint Center celebrated Black History Month with a Twitter series that highlighted the organization’s history, achievements, and research and analysis.

Supporting HBCUs: The Joint Center issued a statement condemning the series of bomb threats that impacted Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the nation. “We join our allies who have called out the domestic terrorism against HBCUs and stand with the students in their right to have a safe campus environment, free from threats of hate-based violence.”


Black Churches 4 broadbandOverton will present the organization’s research on “Expanding Broadband in the Black Rural South” at the Multicultural Media and Telecom Internet Council’s Black Churches 4 Digital Equity monthly meeting Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. ET.

Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton will be a panelist at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Race for Results report virtual event Apr. 11 at 11 a.m. ET.