Joint Center Updates


Our November 2021 Work: Discussing AI Bias, Talking Hill Diversity on MSNBC & More

Economic Studies

Protecting civil rights in AI: The Joint Center and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy co-hosted a virtual discussion, Advancing Equal Protections & Civil Justice in an Automated Society. Panelists discussed how to ensure that emerging decision-making technologies like artificial intelligence protect the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.

Promoting racial equity with BBB: Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton appeared on NPR to discuss whether a significantly smaller Build Back Better bill can effectively tackle racial equity. “The fact that the federal government acknowledged that we need to tackle this idea of racial equity in government is actually a very big deal,” she said, though guests agreed that the spending cuts curtailed efforts.

Narrowing the digital divide: Joint Center Technology Policy Director Dr. Dominique Harrison appeared on two podcasts discussing the policy changes in the infrastructure legislation that can help close the digital divide in the Black Rural South as well as technology’s effect on the Black community. Dr. Harrison also penned an op-ed for The Hechinger Report on how federal action could reduce broadband racism.

Press cites Black Rural South research: Joint Center research on the digital divide in the Black Rural South is cited in a Governing article on how communities are using federal stimulus money to get broadband into the homes of those who can least afford it.

Broadband equals opportunity: Joint Center Technology Policy Director Dr. Dominique Harrison joined panelists for The Hill’s A More Perfect Union discussion urging Congress to pay attention to the Black Rural South when advancing broadband connectivity in jobs, health care, and education.

Joint Center joins influential councils: Dr. Harrison was also recently appointed to serve as a member of the FCC’s Communications Equity and Diversity Council and will chair the Digital Empowerment and Inclusion Working Group. She will also serve on TPRC’s program committee. TPRC promotes interdisciplinary thinking on current and emerging issues in communications and the internet.

Reforming the workforce development system: Joint Center Workforce Policy Director Dr. Alex Camardelle joined a National Skills Coalition panel on how to ensure an inclusive recovery, and specifically how we can take this moment to revisit the structure and policies in the public workforce system that have left far too many African Americans behind. Dr. Camardelle expands on this point in more detail in a Joint Center op-ed with Molly Bashay, senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy, and in a Twitter chat with Groundwork Collaborative.

Getting capital to Black businesses: The Joint Center’s Jessica Fulton, vice president of Policy, discussed with the Financial Health Network the institutional hurdles Black small business owners faced during COVID and how financial institutions can better support them, as well as other financial supports that can advance opportunity in Black communities.

Political Studies

MSNBC Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross, Herline Mathieu and Dr. LaShonda Brenson

Capitol Hill staff is still too white: Dr. LaShonda Brenson, Joint Center senior fellow of diversity and inclusion, appeared on MSNBC’s Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross to discuss the lack of diversity on Capitol Hill. The Joint Center’s study on the topic helped inform Capitol Hill staffers’ recent demands for better pay and advancement opportunities to increase diversity The staffers’ demands and our study were also reported by The New York Times.

The dangers of disinformation: Joint Center President Spencer Overton appeared on a panel hosted by the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center discussing disinformation in American elections and the policies and laws, like Section 230, that can shelter those who spread disinformation.

Black candidates for Fed posts: The Joint Center and Black Economic Alliance issued a letter urging the Biden administration to appoint multiple Black candidates to Federal Reserve leadership positions that are to be filled in the coming months. “There is a pool of strong Black candidates who possess the necessary experience to serve as Chair, Vice Chair, Vice Chair for Supervision and Member of the Board of Governors,” the authors wrote. Politico and The Washington Post picked up the story.

Airbnb offers free housing to Hill fellows: Citing the Joint Center’s study on the lack of diversity among Capitol Hill staff, Airbnb announced a partnership to offer short-term free housing to new congressional fellows during their transition to DC. Airbnb is partnering with the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute to support up to 50 of their fellows.

Hill insider talks with Joint Center: The Joint Center hosted a “Voice at the Table” discussion with Michael E. Collins about the priorities of the Biden-Harris administration. Collins is the special assistant to the president and director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs for Vice President Kamala Harris.

Now Hiring

The Joint Center is seeking a research & policy analyst. Under the direction of the director of Technology Policy, the analyst will be responsible for helping to coordinate all research, analysis, and operations related to the successful functioning of the program. The analyst will also have the opportunity to pitch ideas for research and shape the program research agenda.

The Joint Center is seeking a senior policy analyst. ​​The analyst will help the Joint Center promote policies and partnerships that ensure all Black communities have access to high-quality, well-funded pathways to economic mobility. The analyst will examine how the changing nature of work for Black workers, including how automation, higher education, and evolving social contracts between employers and employees affect the advancement of Black workers. He or she will work closely with the Joint Center’s Workforce Policy director to help develop the program’s strategic agenda, author innovative policy reports, advocate for solutions in Congress and across states, and engage almost daily with state, local, and national partners, philanthropy, and media.

In Case You Missed It

Civil rights audit how-to: The Joint Center contributed to a new report by Laura Murphy that outlines 10 steps every company should take in creating an effective civil rights audit. Murphy has conducted civil rights audits for Airbnb and Facebook. “The roadmap that Laura has designed for a credible, independent audit gives companies a blueprint to take action and go beyond supportive statements and charitable contributions,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton. The report was endorsed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.


Senator Sherrod Brown

Don’t miss our “Voice at the Table” discussion with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Joint Center President Spencer Overton will speak with Sen. Brown about his economic policy priorities, including affordable housing and tax policy, and his perspective on diversity among both congressional staff and appointees in the administration. Register here.

On Dec. 8, Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton will join a fireside conversation with Punchbowl News Founder Anna Palmer and Poverty and Welfare Policy for the Niskanen Center Director Samuel Hammond. The discussion directly follows a conversation between Punchbowl News Founder Anna Palmer and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) at 12:30 p.m. ET. Register here

Join us next week for an Economic Recovery and Justice Series: EITC Twitter chat with Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton and other thought leaders on this issue. Follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date.