Joint Center Updates
President Biden uses clemency power for first time in office: President Biden pardoned three people and commuted another 75 individual’s sentences for Americans convicted of nonviolent crimes. In the same statement, the Biden administration outlined their commitment to expanding second chance opportunities for formerly incarcerated people nationwide in honor of Second Chances Month. This new plan would include investments in “job training; new grants for workforce development programs; greater opportunities to serve in federal government; expanded access to capital for people with convictions trying to start a small business; improved reentry services for veterans; and more support for health care, housing, and educational opportunities.”
Biden administration releases equitable data plan: Following the administration’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, the federal government released recommendations for greater equity in data collection and analysis. The three priorities offered are: “generating disaggregated statistical estimates to characterize experiences of historically underserved groups using survey data; increasing non-federal research and community access to disaggregated data for the evidence-building that supports equity efforts; and conducting robust equity assessments of federal programs to identify areas for improvement.”
The Joint Center recommended the White House use disaggregated data in reporting to identify challenges and ensure true Black representation in the administration and in the evaluations of general workforce programs that are authorized by the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act.
Senate COVID absences delay votes: A recent wave of COVID-related absences in the Senate, including Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Vice President Harris, will delay votes on two of President Biden’s nominees. One of these nominees includes Dr. Lisa Cook, who was nominated to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Upcoming congressional hearings include: A Growing Threat: The Impact of Disinformation Targeted at Communities of Color (House Administration Subcommittee on Elections, April 28); “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (House Agriculture Committee, April 28); Hybrid Hearing on “Ensuring Scientific Integrity at Our Nation’s Public Health Agencies” (House Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, April 29)
Color of Change (COC) urges Apple to commit to a civil rights audit of the organization. Laura Murphy, author of “The Rationale for and Key Elements of a Business Civil Rights Audit,” that was developed in consultation with the Joint Center, strongly supports civil rights policies in tech companies.
COC is asking followers to sign a petition urging Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to drop charges against Tracy McCarter, a Black mother, grandmother, trained nurse from New York, and survivor of domestic violence. According to the petition, McCarteris facing criminal prosecution for the death of her estranged husband, James Murray, for self-defense.
COC is also asking supporters to sign a petition urging President Biden to eliminate student loan debt to advance racial equity. According to COC, “the burden of student loans continues to grow heavier for Black students, who, as the result of racist policies established by our country, must take on astronomical amounts of debt just to get an education.”
Black Futures Lab invites individuals to submit responses to the organization’s Black Census Project. The Black Census Project aims to survey “200,000 Black people from diverse communities across the country… to capture a more accurate picture of who we are and what we care about. The Black Census asks Black communities what we see as the key issues in our communities and asks us about what we think needs to be done to address those issues, so that our lives can change for the better.”
The Advancement Project condemns a Florida anti-voting rights law which would create an Office of Election Crimes filled with law enforcement appointments. According to Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project National Office, “picking and choosing which voters to hear and which to silence is against the values of our democracy. This is the latest of more than 400 new anti-voting laws across 49 states introduced in the last year, which have worked to silence the rising majority of Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous voters.”
Please take this survey to inform the Joint Center’s Workforce Policy Program strategic plan. Your input is crucial for the team to identify areas of opportunity for the program to better support a more racially just recovery for Black workers and jobseekers and maximize future work opportunities for Black workers. This survey will inform research and policy priorities for the program going forward.
The Joint Center welcomes Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) for our first Voice at the Table conversation in 2022. Rep. Horsford will join Joint Center President Spencer Overton May 4 at 1 p.m. E.T. in a robust, one-hour conversation on tax policy, budget priorities, appointments, and other public policy issues that affect Black communities. RSVP here.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation will host the 2022 Health Equity Summit, part of its Policy for the People Virtual Summit Series, May 12. The National Urban League Annual Conference 2022 will be in Washington, DC, July 20-23.