Joint Center Updates
Uncensored internet–good or bad? Joint Center President Spencer Overton joined Public Knowledge to discuss how public interest values shape a better internet. “I have a different orientation,” Overton told the audience on the 10-year anniversary of Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act protests, which would have led some websites to be censored due to copyright infringement claims. “I haven’t looked at platforms as allies. My question is, what is the role of government with regard to the platforms?”
Child Tax Credit ends and families suffer: Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton appeared on NPR to discuss the end of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which expired in December awaiting Build Back Better passage. “The thing that’s most frustrating about all of this is that pulling back on the Child Tax Credit actually harms the families that need it the most,” she said, referring specifically to low-income rural Black and Latino families who were newly eligible for the tax credit. Fulton also recently published an issue brief explaining how the Earned Income Tax Credit can help lift Black workers with children out of poverty, and how it can be improved to help Black workers without children.
More opportunity for Black workers: Joint Center Workforce Policy Director Dr. Alex Camardelle penned an op-ed in The Hill for MLK Day on full employment and living wages for Black workers. “Measures focused on providing better resources to our educational institutions and rooting out systemic racism in the labor market are long overdue,” he wrote, calling for labor policies to close the glaring economic gaps between white and Black workers.
Voting rights in peril: Joint Center President Spencer Overton joined Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) to discuss voting rights. “This is a critical time in our democracy in terms of stepping up to the plate and protecting voting rights,” Overton told the audience, describing the trajectory of partisan politics that are engulfing voting rights today.
Pass voting rights now: Overton called for a filibuster carve-out to protect voting rights in an op-ed in The Hill. “Emboldened, opponents of multiracial democracy will assume they have free reign to marginalize voters of color, and if challenged simply discredit voters of color as illegitimate, corrupt, or unable to follow rules,” he wrote. Overton further discussed voting rights on C-SPAN and in The New York Times, The Guardian, and FiveThirtyEight.
Black scholars could join Federal Reserve Board: The Joint Center commended President Biden for nominating Drs. Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. If confirmed, Cook, an economist at Michigan State University, would become the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. If confirmed, Jefferson, an economist at Davidson and Swarthmore colleges, would be the fourth Black man to serve on the board since its founding in 1913.
Diversity on K Street and the Hill: Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson was quoted in the New Pittsburgh Courier and a National Urban League press release on the lack of diversity on K Street. That lack of diversity in public affairs directly stems from the same lack of diversity on the Hill, the article notes, citing the Joint Center’s report on the same. “The significant influence and lack of racial diversity of top staff facilitate systemic biases that reproduce privilege and inequality and affect all Americans,” Dr. Brenson told the Courier.
Modernizing Congress: Dr. Brenson appeared on a panel discussing the need to modernize Congress, “From Contested to Continuity to Collaborative? The Silver Lining of Crisis in Congress.” Dr. Brenson discussed the lack of transparency in congressional staff diversity, citing the Joint Center’s work shining a light on the issue.
Pay congressional staff fairly: A new Issue One report, that cites Joint Center data, explains how fairly compensating congressional staff will help Congress attract and retain a diverse and capable workforce.
The Joint Center is looking to contract a Tech Policy consultant. The Joint Center is searching for a consultant to support the organization’s Tech Policy goals between Feb. 10 and July 31, 2022. The consultant will help to implement the Joint Center’s 2022 Tech Policy strategy. By managing key Tech Policy projects at the Joint Center, the consultant will help enhance the Joint Center’s leadership on key Tech Policy issues affecting Black communities.
In Case You Missed It
New board members: The Joint Center welcomes 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 the University of California, Los Angeles.
Our 2021 accomplishments: The Joint Center’s 2021 year-end video recaps our busy year in 2021, from targeted research to expert insights and more.
Remembering Lani Guinier: Joint Center President Spencer Overton discussed the legacy of Lani Guinier on NPR. Guinier was a brilliant legal mind who, as Overton put it, “argued that merely having a vote was not enough for Americans” and advocated for alternatives like cumulative voting. “Her visionary work on multiracial democracy has stood the test of time,” he said of her legacy. “The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attack on our multiracial democracy, and that attack continues today through schemes to restrict the freedom to vote in states throughout the nation.”
Jessica Fulton will be a panelist at the Sadie T.M Alexander Conference for Economics and Related Fields, which is taking place Feb. 17-20.