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JULY 2022


Since our inception, the Joint Center has played a role in ensuring that the American government is a more inclusive space for elected and appointed officials so that Black communities are represented in crucial policy conversations. In the past, our diversity work has led government agencies to disaggregate data by race and ethnicity in annual surveys and reports and hire more Black staffers in the White House and on the Hill. 

This month was no exception, as our team released new analysis emphasizing trends in the 2022 Senate Democratic Caucus diversity data and called out the White House for not disaggregating recent personnel data. We will continue to advocate for diversity throughout the government through our Hill Diversity work, Black Talent Initiative, and across our organization’s focus areas. 

We invite you to read more about our efforts this past month in Hill diversity, Economic Policy, and our other focus areas below.


Joint Center submits reply comments to FCC on broadband in the Black Rural South
The Joint Center submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on ensuring that broadband resources mentioned in the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are equitably deployed in the Black Rural South.  

The Joint Center’s comments explain that Black households in the Black Rural South are among the most unserved by broadband in the nation, and the federal infrastructure law represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix this problem. These comments propose initial steps the FCC, the U.S. Commerce Department, state governments, and local leaders in the Black Rural South should take to avoid inequitable deployment.

Read the Joint Center’s full 22-page comments and proposed solutions here.

Joint Center VP of Policy featured speaker in roundtable on building inclusive prosperity for rural America 
 

Joint Center Vice President of Policy Jessica Fulton participated in the U.S. House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth’s roundtable discussion focused on improving and restoring rural economic growth. The discussion, “Building Inclusive Prosperity for Rural America,” allowed speakers to analyze the modern challenges rural communities face and examine innovative solutions to help rural residents, communities, and businesses achieve greater economic mobility. Testimonies from this conversation will have a direct impact on how this committee may shape policy in the immediate future.
 
Click here to watch the recording and read Fulton’s testimony.
NEW ANALYSIS:
2022 Senate Democratic Caucus Diversity Numbers

The Joint Center released research and analysis following the Senate Democrats’ sixth annual survey on racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation/gender identity diversity of their staff. To date, Senate Republican offices have not released staff demographic data. 

Our analysis includes 22 graphs detailing the rankings of the top three personal and committee offices with racially diverse staff and shows the personal offices with the most Black, Latina/o, Asian American/Pacific Islander, LGBTQ, and women staff.  

Of the 50 Democratic Senate personal offices, 35 reported an increase in the number of staff who identify as nonwhite, 11 reported a decrease, and four remained unchanged. Of the 35 Senate Democratic personal offices who observed an increase, only 31 percent observed an increase of more than five percentage points. 

Click here for the complete analysis by Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson. 

This research was featured in The Washington Post, The Hill, Blavity, and Yahoo! News, among others. Our analysis of the 2022 Senate Democratic Caucus diversity data was commended for its swift turnaround by various media outlets.  

Senate staffers of color earn less pay than whites

Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson provided commentary on LegiStorm’s blog post, comparing the projected salary of the median white Senate staffer to the average Black Senate staffer. 

According to Dr. Brenson, “[t]hese differences may reflect what Joint Center research has consistently demonstrated:  Congressional offices lack staff diversity at more senior levels, which may account for the salary discrepancies. As demonstrated in our 2020 report, Racial Diversity Among Top Staff in Senate Personal Offices, people of color make up 40 percent of the U.S. population, but only 11 percent of all Senate personal office top staff (i.e., chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors). African Americans account for 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, but only 3.1 percent of Senate personal office top staffers.” 

Read the full blog post here.

Black American labor and in pursuit of a Black Worker Bill of Rights

WORKFORCE POLICY

Joint Center Senior Policy Analyst Brian Kennedy II penned an op-ed featured in Next City’s Hear Us column. In this op-ed, Kennedy explains how Black American labor is foundational to the economic successes of this nation, although their contributions are rarely celebrated and commits to advocating for a Black Worker Bill of Rights.

According to Kennedy, “The most American truth is that the stolen, and later coerced and exploited, labor of Black workers has underwritten the United States’ survival and its successes. Black labor grew an agricultural empire. It built the physical infrastructure of a young nation. It fulfilled the most dangerous and backbreaking jobs that allowed for rapid industrialization. Today, the labor of Black workers deemed ‘essential’ is intentionally undervalued in order to subsidize our service economy. Ultimately, without the institutionalized ability to wield Black labor for profit, we would not be celebrating the Fourth of July, eating hotdogs and watching fireworks.”

Read the op-ed here.

Joint Center urges the Biden administration to disaggregate personnel data by race

BLACK TALENT INITIATIVE

Earlier this month, the White House released its federally-required Annual Report to Congress on White House Office Personnel which lists the names, titles, and salaries of White House staff. Despite calls to disaggregate data by race, the Biden administration did not use this opportunity to set a precedent in this important space. The Joint Center continues to urge the White House to disaggregate data by race and issued the following statement:

“The Biden White House prides itself in being one of the most diverse administrations in the nation’s history, but by failing to disclose data disaggregated by race, the administration falls short of its commitment of ‘advancing equity for all,’” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center. “Disclosure of staff by race allows the public to better understand the extent to which the White House staff reflects the diversity of our nation, and allows those committed to diversity to identify areas of success and future opportunities for growth. Approximately 22 percent of President Biden’s voters were Black, and without insight into the racial breakdown, Americans cannot know if the White House is moving closer toward its idea of a more representative government. Future White House reports on staff must disclose data disaggregated by race.”

Click here to read more.

Eddie N. Williams began his tenure at the Joint Center in July 1972

Eddie N. Williams was the longest-running president of the Joint Center, with 32 years in the role. His portrait currently hangs in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery. Pictured: Spencer posing with the portrait.

Read more about the Joint Center’s history here.
 An economy for all: Building a Black Women Best legislative agenda roundtable

Fulton will moderate a panel, discussing the recently released report, An Economy For All: Building a Black Women Best Legislative Agenda, hosted by the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, Tuesday, July 26. The roundtable will include select speakers from the report’s working group who will provide an overview of the report and its guiding framework and discuss how key components of the report intersect with today’s most pressing issues. 

Click here to visit the Youtube and Facebook pages where the panel disucssion will stream. 

Powerplay: Powered by Peter Damon Group
 

Spencer will be featured in the Peter Damon Group’s PowerPlay series, July 29 at 12 p.m. ET. This monthly discussion series focuses on action-oriented leaders from various sectors who are shaping our future with powerful and creative solutions to 21st century issues. Spencer will discuss his leadership at the Joint Center and emphasize our ever-important issue areas. 

Click here to visit the Peter Damon Group Facebook page, where the interview will air.
Joint Center director quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education

WORKFORCE POLICY

Joint Center Director of Workforce Policy Dr. Alex Camardelle was quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The article highlights his position in opposition of Income Share Agreements, as emphasized through his panel discussion at the annual Jobs for the Future Conference. 

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Alex Camardelle suggested studying when to require payback because, he noted, it can often take Black and Hispanic graduates longer to land a job …. Camardelle, arguing against [Income Share Agreements] ISAs, said it was ‘unjust and unfortunate’ to claim they advance racial equity ‘when we have no evidence of that.’”
Joint Center data-based equity work featured by NewsOne 

WORKFORCE POLICY

Dr. Camardelle was quoted in NewsOne, emphasizing the importance of disaggregating economic data by race to ensure an economic recovery equitably supports the specific needs of Black workers.

“You may hear things about the promising labor market and how well it’s doing, but you often don’t hear disaggregated by race and ethnicity,” Dr. Camardelle explained. “So we stand in that gap and make sure that we’re talking about what these numbers mean for Black folks.”

The article cites his thesis from Associated Black Charities’ Equity First speaker series in 2022, a webinar series that highlights key leaders from across the nation who recognize that sustainable change for people of color will only come when structural and institutional barriers are replaced with equitable policies, practices, and institutions.

Read the article here.

The fight for digital equity and inclusion

TECH POLICY

Spencer Overton was a panelist at the National Urban League Annual Conference, “Connectivity Equals Jobs! The Fight for Digital Equity and Inclusion”. For this session, the expert panel discussed how we can advocate and leverage these resources to ensure Black rural and urban communities are to adequately compete in the 21st century.

Visit the conference website here.

Commentary on June Jobs Day Numbers

Joint Center Senior Policy Analyst Justin Nalley participated in Groundwork Collaborative’s Twitter chat on the Bureau of Labor Statistics June Jobs Report. Nalley offers commentary #BeyondTheNumbers in response to the bureau’s monthly report. View the discussion here.

The Joint Center is seeking a Digital Communications Director 

The director will be responsible for stewarding the Joint Center’s brand on all social media platforms and ensuring that our messaging and visual identity is consistently expressed across all audience touch points. The director drives awareness of the Joint Center’s brand via our owned digital platforms and social media; designs and implements all digital marketing programs (direct marketing, advertising) that grow and diversify the Joint Center’s audiences (social media communities, email subscribers, website visitors), and creates meaningful content that shares the story of the Joint Center with broad audiences.

Read the full description here.

The Joint Center is seeking a Director of Platform Regulation and Content Moderation 

The director will be an inspirational leader dedicated to leading the Joint Center’s emerging Platform Regulation and Content Moderation program. The Director will be responsible for building the Joint Center’s expertise and influence on key policy issues related to digital platforms affecting Black communities (e.g., disinformation, ad targeting, online anti-Blackness, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act) through research, building, and convening the Joint Center’s network of experts and engaging in public education.

The director will grow the Joint Center’s program on Platform Regulation and Content Moderation policy program to provide leadership in national policy conversations. The director will manage the completion of research, engage with the media, educate policymakers, cultivate donors, and provide input on Joint Center messaging related to platform regulation and content moderation.

Read the full description here.

The Joint Center is seeking a Director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Policy 

The director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Policy will be an inspirational leader dedicated to leading the Joint Center’s budding Small Business and Entrepreneurship program. The director will be responsible for building the Joint Center’s expertise and influence on key policy issues affecting Black small-business owners and entrepreneurs through research, building, and convening the Joint Center’s network of experts and engaging in public education on timely issues affecting Black business owners.

Read the full description here.

The Joint Center is seeking a Special Assistant of Policy

The ideal special assistant is mission-driven, detail-oriented, collaborative, and thrives in high-performing environments. They are thoughtful, intellectually curious, and have strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills. This is an exciting role for a recent college graduate or entry level professional to learn from and with the nation’s leading scholars examining economic and tech policy issues affecting Black communities. Read the full description here.

The American Association of Community Colleges 

The American Association of Community Colleges asked Frank Harris III about how colleges can assess and expand services and the need to create racially healthy campus cultures. This article explores how educators can create better pathways for students of color. 

According to Dr. Harris, “[Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] DEI work must be approached strategically, just as a campus would approach a comprehensive fundraising campaign, construction project, or any other transformation effort. Campus leaders must start by getting a transparent understanding of their institution’s culture and readiness to be equity-focused. Having a transparent understanding provides guidance on where intervention needs to occur. Leadership must also include DEI in its mission, vision and all campus planning documents with measurable goals and resources allocated toward these efforts.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond 
 
 

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond published a report entitled Do Black households face higher and more volatile inflation? According to the authors, “inflation affects different households in different ways. [Munseob Lee, Claudia Macaluso and Felipe Schwartzman] use detailed data on spending in retail outlets by Black and White households in the U.S. and study the racial inflation disparity. This report finds that Black households experienced slightly higher and significantly more volatile inflation in consumer goods from 2004 to 2020 compared to White households. More than two-thirds of the difference in inflation volatility can be explained by the fact that Black households are disproportionately more likely to consume goods with volatile prices.”

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