NREI 2021 Annual Report

Page 1

21 Prepared By Olajumoke Obayanju Director, National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice (NREI), Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.

Mission Established in late 2020, the NREI’s mission is to combat systemic injustice and advance racial equity, human rights, education, and economic development opportunities for the Black community.

Table of Contents Executive Summary Overview: National Racial Equity Initiative For Social Justice Initiatives


05 07

I. HBCU Social Justice Scholarships 08 II. John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship Program 09 III. Policy Research

IV. Task Force of Social Justice Ambassadors

Presentations & Programs Publications SWOT Analysis NREI 2022 Goals Appendix

15 16 18 23 24 25 26

Executive Summary This 2021 Annual Report provides an overview of the National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice (NREI) to capture our progress on priorities since the inception of NREI and to provide context to the evolution of NREI to date. The NREI was established in late 2020 in direct response to the murder of George Floyd, which prompted protests nationally over the reliving of yet another African American killed by police. Though the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), for years, has prioritized advancing the global Black community, the NREI was founded as CBCF’s pledge to bolster its work in advancing racial justice, combating systemic injustice, and increasing economic development opportunities for the Black community. George Floyd’s murder exemplified the structural barriers and systemic racism that continue to pervade our societal constructs, from the criminal legal system and our court system to healthcare and education systems. His death also inspired—and more appropriately—ignited a force of political, financial and grassroots mobilization around social justice and racial equity. In our efforts to Remove Financial Barriers for Black Students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Advance Social Justice Policy through research and programming, Create a Pipeline for young Black leaders, and Empower Action-Driven Change, NREI has accomplished the following in the last year: 1. Hosted and placed ten full-time Fellows on Capitol Hill and the Foundation through our John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship. 2. Awarded $450,000 to 45 Undergraduate and Graduate level scholars attending 24 HBCUs nationwide. 3. Created and began the implementation of a policy research agenda that will inform the social justice policy landscape in the years to come. 4. Hosted the inaugural National Racial Equity Initiative Summit centered around prioritizing trauma-informed care policy, eradicating racial bias in our justice system, and igniting the next generation of Black social justice leaders. Over 2,100 individuals registered for our inaugural Summit. 5. Established relationships with 24 corporate partners to raise $7,945,000 (nearly $8M) to support the mission of NREI over the next five years.

As we enter NREI’s second year of operations, we inspirationally look to the work ahead in 2022.


The NREI’s mission is to combat systemic

Overview: National Racial Equity Initiative For Social Justice

injustice and advance racial equity, human rights, education, and economic development opportunities for the Black community. Housed in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CPAR), the NREI takes an evidence-based approach to develop sound policies targeted to reduce racial disparities caused by racism and discrimination. NREI provides solutions-driven and proactive policies and practices that produce equitable access, opportunities, treatment, and outcomes for African Americans. Recognizing that combating systemic racism can be achieved through various avenues, the NREI framework supports the CBCF’s organizational mission of developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public. The NREI includes social justice fellows, social justice scholarships for HBCU students, a task force, research, data, and public policy related to social justice reform for maximum impact in Black communities. The scope of work for the NREI involves measurable deliverables and activism that shape the Foundation of NREI’s establishment, operational trajectory, and research policy.


Operations Overview On January 25, 2021, CBCF welcomed its first Director, Olajumoke Obayanju, to lead the NREI program. On September 13, 2021, CBCF welcomed Senior Program Manager Solomon Ayalew to assist with the administrative and operational functions of NREI. Below is an overview of the work accomplished to grow the NREI's capacity, develop its systems, and refine its operations.

Onboarding Senior Program Manager (Solomon Ayalew) » Assists with NREI’s strategic implementation; » Oversees administrative and operational functions for NREI programming; » Implements and leads a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process for each NREI component; » Assists in the production of NREI research, materials, and deliverables; and » Tracks the progress of priority federal legislation that advances social justice reform.

Ten sponsored one-year Fellows » Assist in producing research, materials and programming that align with NREI’s mission and research agenda.

Data Organization & Migration Director Olajumoke Obayanju created a robust system to document and organize the NREI materials into a SharePoint that is easily accessible to team members. The SharePoint has been crucial in allowing for efficient operations within NREI and across departments. The Director and Senior Program Manager migrated relevant data from various databases and uploaded them to easily accessible files. » HBCU Scholarship data from Academic Works » NREI Fellows’ data from Leadership Institute database » CPAR Institutional history from CPAR database

Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) The Senior Program Manager’s role includes developing M&E models for each NREI component. These models are to serve as tools to not only enhance the quality of project planning and management but also assist NREI’s assessment of project progress and achieved objectives. Each M&E provides a consolidated source of information that showcases our NREI components' success and growth areas. » As of January 2022, three of the four NREI components have M&E models. (NREI HBCU Scholarship Program, NREI John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship Program, NREI Policy Research)

We have also developed checkpoint surveys for the HBCU Scholarships and John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship Program to help capture data on participant satisfaction.




HBCU Social Justice Scholarships The NREI HBCU Social Justice Scholarships were created to encourage and support the next generation of social justice leaders committed to advancing equity, freedom, and justice for all, especially the Black community. The scholarships ameliorate the economic hardships experienced by HBCU students committed to social justice work, hoping to remove financial barriers and expand future opportunities and access to success. The funds are disbursed on an annual, one-time, basis to undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral level students attending Historically Black Colleges or Universities, pursuing studies related to social justice to include, but not limited to, criminal justice, education, civil rights, or community/economic development. In addition, students must demonstrate their interests and experience in social justice, student activism, and/or community service.

2021 Scholarship Cycle Information







Undergraduate Students


33% Graduate/ Doctoral Students




45 AT $10,000 EACH




John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellowship Program

2020-2021 Fellowship Cycle:


Fellowship applications received

September 2020 Cohort

The NREI John R. Lewis Social Justice Policy professionals the opportunity to work in Congress


and with the Foundation to address social justice

June 2021 Cohort

Fellowship is designed to give young, Black

and racial equity issues that affect the Black


community. Distinguished by two six-month rotations, Social Justice Fellows are placed in the

Fellowship applications received (3 available slots)

Fellowship applications received (4 available slots)

September 2021 Cohort

U.S. Congress with Congressional Black Caucus


members and the CBCF’s Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CPAR) for a total of 12 months. Fellows produce social justice policy research and


analysis on topics that include, but not limited to, criminal justice reform, education, community/ economic development, health equity, and civil rights. While working in Congressional Black Caucus member offices, Fellows gain invaluable legislative experience as they engage in the development of public policy initiatives, attend briefings, conduct research, write speeches, and develop rapport with key leaders all in the areas of social justice. In the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, Fellows work under the NREI Director and in cooperation with other stakeholders to conduct policy analysis, research, and data collection. Fellows during their term also organize social justice forums and brain trusts, serve as an expert in their field, and produce issue briefs, fact sheets and other publications related to social justice.


Fellowship applications received (3 available slots)

Fellowships awarded


Applications awarded

September 2020-2021 Fellows Sianay Chase Clifford Congressional Placement: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Interests: Racial Wealth Disparities, Income Support & Welfare Policy, Black Maternal Health, Criminal Justice Reform Sponsor: Mary Kay Dr. Dennis Johnson Congressional Placement: Rep. Marcia Fudge [until March 2021], Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Interests: Racial Wealth Disparities, Income Support & Welfare Policy, Black Maternal Health, Criminal Justice Reform Interests: Education, Environment, Criminal Justice Sponsor: Casey Family Programs

Jared Lewis Congressional Placement: Rep. Barbara Lee Interests: Technology, Economic Development, Equity Sponsor: Kapor Center for Social Impact


June 2020-2021 Fellows Eliazar Chacha* Congressional Placement: Rep. Kweisi Mfume Interests: Criminal Justice Reform, Education, Voting Rights Sponsor: DLA Piper/ Ford Haleigh Hoskins Congressional Placement: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries Interests: Criminal Justice Reform, Economic Development, Racial Equity Sponsor: PNC (formerly BBVA)

Airenakhue Omoragbon Congressional Placement: Rep. Robin Kelly Interests: Gender-Based Violence, Racial Economic Disparity, Reproductive Justice, Trauma-Informed Care Sponsor: Amgen

Jasmine Payne Congressional Placement: Rep. Nikema Williams Interests: Economic Empowerment, Higher Education, Voting Rights Sponsor: 3M

* Fellow has exited the Program /11

September 2021-2022 Fellows Shelby Birch Congressional Placement: Rep. Jahana Hayes Interests: Education and Economic Opportunity Sponsor: Casey Family Programs

Cameryn Blackmore Congressional Placement: Rep. Marilyn Strickland Interests: Criminal Justice and Education Sponsor: Boston Scientific

Javon Knight Congressional Placement: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II Interests: Education and Economic Opportunity Sponsor: Amazon


2021 NREI Fellows’ Testimonials Jasmine Payne - 2021 NREI Fellow, Rep. Nikema Williams “It has been great! I have no complaints and love team CBCF. I have a moment a few times a month where I just reflect on what this opportunity means and how rare it is that people get to experience this.”

Haleigh Hoskins - 2021 NREI Fellow, Rep. Hakeem Jefferies "I am bonding with the staff by attending networking events such as the Congressional Baseball game.”


2021 NREI Fellows Testimonials

"The Fellowship experience has been amazing so far. Everything from engaging with past alumni and guest speakers through the Foundation to working on real legislation in the office has been great."

"I am doing fulfilling work in my member office. I realize that I am in the hands of good supervisors who genuinely want me to succeed" - Airenakhue Omoragbon 2021 NREI Fellow, Rep. Robin Kelly

- Javon Knight 2021 NREI Fellow, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II


Policy Research The NREI Research advances social justice reform by producing reports, policy briefings, and strategic engagement with the Congressional Black Caucus. Our priority areas include Criminal Justice Reform, Education, Health Equity, and Economic Opportunity. As the June 2021 cohort of NREI Fellows has now transitioned to their Foundation rotation the forthcoming research for Quarter 1 2022 is as follows:

Criminal Justice Juvenile Justice Research Research on the impact of referring youth to the juvenile court system. How do we reduce the number of court referrals from schools?

Case Study of Reentry Practices Eliminating Barriers to Reentry for Returning Citizens: A 50 State examination of reentry practices.

Economic Opportunity Reparations More than 150 Years Later. The Case of Restorative Justice Policy in Evanston, IL This case study dissects the history of reparations and the overall climate of the United States’ attitude towards reparations implementation through current legislation. Further, the study looks closely at Evanston’s recent decision to enact restorative justice policies in the wake of the current climate and then analyzes how the national agenda can learn from this decision model. Finally, this case study aims to analyze Evanston’s model to inform policy and practices that can be used to

During Foundation rotations, the June 2021 NREI Fellows will also complete a Capstone Research Project.

progress H.R. 40 and other national, state, and local reparations legislation. The Capstone is the culmination

Appeal for Administrative Action: Canceling Student Loan Debt for Historically Black College and University Alumni

of the Fellowship experience

This policy brief implores that policymakers prioritize student debt cancellation, particularly

demonstrate their mastery of a

for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) borrowers, to alleviate the impact of high

specific topic and the Fellow’s

intergenerational financial costs.

research and analytical skills.

that allows each Fellow to

The Capstone incorporates


concepts, techniques and

A Policy Brief Analyzing the Expansion of High-Speed Internet Access This policy brief will assess and identify factors that have led to the digital divide for Black students in K-12, analyze the consequences, and recommend legislative priorities to close the gap and provide greater access.

skills learned throughout the Fellowship experience, through which Fellows can make original scholarly, professional contributions to their field. The final publication must address


a key policy/issue within the

Reproductive Rights, Dobbs v. Jackson, and Implications for the Black Maternal Health Crisis

NREI priorities: Criminal Justice

This policy brief suggests that the burden of an anti-abortion ruling will rest most heavily on the

and Economic Opportunity. June

shoulders of Black women who are living with low incomes in states that already offer severely

2021 NREI Fellows’ Capstone

limited abortion services.

papers and presentations will be

Reform; Education; Health Equity

completed on May 16, 2022.


Task Force Of Social Justice Ambassadors The NREI Task Force of Social Justice Ambassadors is a cohort of individuals committed to challenging racial injustice and advancing racial equity and social justice reform. Using their platforms, Ambassadors work in collaboration with NREI to disseminate research and information, advance policy, and community-based solutions, develop relevant programming, share best practices, and raise awareness through media and mass movements for change with attention to youth activism, community organizing, and grassroots mobilization. The framework of this inaugural Task Force was completed during Quarter 4 2021, with a projected announcement in February 2022. The Task Force hopes to inspire a newer generation of change agents who will assume leadership roles in developing strategies to combat racial inequities in their respective communities, and throughout the country.

Take Force Composition: • Academics, Influencers, Community Activists, Corporate Leaders and Youth. • Individuals particularly committed to and have a proven record in confronting issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or supporting and improving racial justice. • Individuals experienced in mobilizing youth around social justice policy issues and developing a platform to combat inequities • Individuals experienced, skilled, or have knowledge in social justice policy, research, or education.

Take Force Goals:

1 3


Push policy that compels action by lawmakers to end systemic inequality and racism and advances community-based solution Partner with NREI leadership to develop relevant programming that advances the NREI mission



Disseminate research and information to the public expanding legislative knowledge and promoting civic engagement

Utilize their power and platform to equip young leaders and community members and serve as champions for change


Erika Alexander Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer,

Color Farm Media

LaTosha Brown

Tamir D. Harper

Co-Founder, Black Voters Matter

Co-Founder, UrbEd Inc.

Principal Baruti Kafele Education Consultant, Principal Kafele Consulting, LLC

Nupol Kiazolu

Dr. Judy Lubin

Dr. Maurice Stinnett

Founder, We Protect Us

President, Center for Urban and Racial Equity (CURE)

Global Head of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Warner Music Group


Presentations & Programs Free to “SPEAK” Conversation on Racial Equity & Corporate Social Responsibility BOLD Juneteenth Programming In honor of Juneteenth, NREI Director Olajumoke Obayanju spoke with Delta Airline’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Heather Wingate for a fireside chat centered around corporate social responsibility and how corporations play a vital role in helping eradicate racial inequalities in America. Organized by Delta’s Black Employee

20th Anniversary Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library and Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Esq. Law Library Virtual Symposium on “Challenges and Legal Implications of Misinformation in Health Disparities and Health Policies in the U.S.”

Business Resource Group (BOLD) the session was designed to highlight BOLD’s commitment

This joint symposium between Howard University’s

to driving corporate solutions to combat racial

health sciences and law schools was born from

inequalities and highlight the work of the

witnessing the increasing misinformation surrounding

Congressional Black Caucus’ National Racial

health disparities. Seeing a clear overlap in studies in

Equity Initiative for Social Justice. During the

both the legal and medical research communities, and

live streamed conversation, NREI Director

the effect on the underserved populations, Howard

Olajumoke Obayanju offered her thoughts

University established this symposium. NREI Director

about the significance of Juneteenth, insights,

Olajumoke Obayanju was invited as a keynote speaker

and recommendations for business best

for day two of the symposium to discuss health


inequities and social justice.

JUNE 16, 2021

SEPTEMBER 15, 2021


NREI ALC 2021 Session During ALC 2021, CBCF hosted its first National Racial Equity Initiative session: “A Movement or A Moment? Analyzing Corporate Responsibility One Year after the Death of George Floyd.” The session was the second most popular of the CBCF hosted general sessions, featuring, introductory remarks by Representative Hank Johnson. The moderator was Kimberly Merchant,

Session Description

the Racial Institute Director at the Shriver Center on

Last year’s unjust killings of Ahmaud Arbery,

Poverty Law. The panelists included Chanelle Hardy,

Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd sparked a

Head of Civil Rights, Strategic Outreach & Partnerships Lead at Google and Dr. Maurice A. Stinnett, Global Head

national movement towards racial equality.

of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Warner Music

In response, many corporations produced

Group. In this session, corporate leaders answered

statements, launched initiatives, and

tough questions to inform how their organizations have

reformed internal practices to demonstrate

remained dedicated to their commitment towards racial

their support for the Black Lives Matter

equity and cultivated a space to discuss proactive

Movement and solidarity with the Black

next steps. The panelists discussed best practices undertaken by their companies to help advance racial

community. According to a 2019 survey

equity from a public policy perspective.

conducted by Markstein and Certus

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

Insights, 46% of consumers pay close attention to a brand’s social justice efforts before purchasing a product, and 70% of consumers want to know what the brands they support are actually doing to address social issues. Are companies, today, truly invested in efforts to advance racial equity, or instead are they mostly motivated by the perception of their impact to boost their brand? Does it matter?


NREI Summit The inaugural National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice Summit took place on Thursday, November 4, 2021, from 11:00 am – 5:45 pm EST on the PheedLoop platform. The Summit provided a space to develop solution-driven and proactive policies and practices that produce equitable access, opportunities, treatment, and outcomes for African Americans. (See Program Book in Appendix). The Summit included three panel discussions and three Let Out interactive discussions, with over 2,000 registered guests and 18 speakers. CBC Member participants included: Representative Ayanna Pressley, Senator Cory Booker, and Representative Nikema Williams. NOVEMBER 4, 2021

What Worked Well Registration process and communications were seamless

Session 1

Design of registration website and virtual event portal

Holistic Justice: A Push Towards Trauma-Informed

Adding the Let-Out Sessions to the Schedule vs. Sub-Sessions


Including the speaker waivers as part of the speaker package (all waivers received)

Session 2 You Can’t Spell Criminal Justice System Without “Bias”: A Look

Detailed fact sheets with information to be added on the platform

at Discrimination Within the Judicial System and the Critical

Platform ease of use, PureChat technical support, Magic links

Role of Legislators

Streamyard to Pheedloop integration (seamless speaker transitions)

Session 3

The Fellows were very engaging in the Let Out Sessions

Igniting The Next Generation of Social Justice Leaders

Event day troubleshooting of the Let Out Sessions Active session chats and discussions

What Can Be Improved The Let Out Sessions Addtional breakout room testing and creating a flow for the conversations (Ex. adding instructions) Encrypted Zoom messages (caused by a bug on Zoom's end) Live session content not able to be viewed from the PheedLoop app (can be viewed post-event in On-Demand tab) An announcement was sent to attendees with this information (to be determined if Meet & Stream credits can be reconciled if used) Incorporate questions from attendees into the session and share resources mentioned during the session Developing a Resource Guide/ Take Action document (creating an aggregate list) Developing a Resource Room/Discussion Board form (Collaboard/Dropbox) Need final content (marketing assets, session videos) with additional lead time for testing Final run of show meeting to align on timings and suggested transitions for the sessions (introductions varied for sessions which impacted how we brought the panelists/lower thirds on the screen) Comments from attendees that they would have liked attendee names to be on screen for the duration of the panel Establish a character limit for lower thirds so they are not excessive Test frames/lower thirds in full-screen viewing during tech check for framing. Be more stricter during speaker briefings. Advanced access to the platform can have a platform navigation video Networking room attendance and promotion


Attendee Registrations

2,131 Attendee (282 incomplete)


Media (10 incomplete)

Summit Statistics



$4,340 Donated

In-platform $350 x 1 donation


Registration $10 x 94 donations $25 x 50 donations $50 x 18 donations $100 x 9 donations


attendees selected that they were from the USA

(Registration Questions Were Not Mandatory)

46% 16%

attendees ages were between 40-59

attendees ages were between 30-39





Session 1 (6) Session 2 (6) Session 3 (6)


attendees identified as male

68% Sponsors



Platinum (4) Gold (5) Silver (3) General (3)


attendees identified as female

attendees were made aware of the event through email communications

Marketing Performance Metrics:


Publications NREI Director Olajumoke Obayanju served as a contributing writer for the 8th Annual Black Women’s Roundtable Report, Black Women in the U.S. & Key States, 2021, entitled “Rebuilding Hope, Justice, Equity & Equality in A New Political, Racial & Social Justice Era!

We Need More Help: Black Women Leading The Movement Against The System Killing Them This essay highlights how Black women remain leaders and activists around policing reform and racial justice, standing at the forefront of a movement that routinely leaves them out of the social justice perspective. It offers suggestions of how to assist Black women in fighting for policing reform like restructuring policy agendas and dismantling sexist policies and practices that reduce

150 Years Later - The Radical Success of HBCUs

the number of Black women from becoming police officers and moving up into leadership positions.

Underscoring the significance and relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), this essay walks through HBCUs as “historical pillars, sacred places from which ingenuity and progress continue to be birthed.” It stresses that HBCUs are to credit for the massive Black talent and influence we see in every sector of the American and global society, and how HBCUs cultivate Black women in ways unmatched by any other institution.


SWOT Analysis Strengths


Name recognition Cross-department teamwork

Lack of access to resources for research and other databases


Limited staff

Ability to work under pressure

NREI was launched in 2020 without a Director

Diligent work ethic

Relevance of social justice work

NREI Director began in January 2021 and ran the program for eight months before onboarding a Sr. Program Manager in September 2021

Dedicated Fellows

Lack of adequate technology

Committed and invested sponsors

Few lines of communication with organizations pursuing a similar goal



Can propel the work of CPAR to become a strong think-tank

NREI may not be able to produce as much due to limited staff and support

New top leadership may strengthen the work of NREI given racial justice background

Slow turnaround time of materials produced for external audiences

Diversity and broad research priorities Unique position at the crossroads of Social Justice, Academic Research, and access to legislators.


NREI 2022 Goals Expand and Enhance Research, Policy, and Community Initiatives a. Develop a 1–2-year strategic plan for research agenda re-launch and implementation. b. Produce 6-8 issue briefs and fact sheets per issue area. c. Host three community conversation townhalls that provide opportunities to seek the community-level dialogue and pursue policy solutions that meet people where they are and serve them as they need to be informed and educated.

Expand and Enhance the Reach of the CBCF NREI Brand a. Disseminate publications (fact sheets, issue briefs, reports) and research agenda. b. Strengthen NREI collaboration and partnerships with like-minded organizations and thought partners. c. Increase NREI presence and participation in policy forums, conference panels, media, etc. in local and national policy discussions. d. Raise the level of social justice leaders committed to advancing racial equity policy across the country. e. Expand HBCU scholarship award recipients by increasing recruitment and scholarship announcements. f. Utilize inaugural Task Force of Social Justice Ambassadors to disseminate and amplify NREI work.

Enhance Internal Operations a. Establish and implement a robust operating and reporting procedure for NREI team within department and with other departments. b. Standardize NREI inter and intra-departmental communication and collaboration.


Appendix 1.

NREI 2021 Summit Take Action Document


NREI Staff & Fellow Bios


Latest version April 28, 2022 /27

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