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In Memoriam Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, Sr. Wilhelmina J. Rolark THE WASHINGTON INFORMER NEWSPAPER (ISSN#0741-9414) is published weekly on each Thursday. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C. and additional mailing offices. News and advertising deadline is Monday prior to publication. Announcements must be received two weeks prior to event. Copyright 2013 by The Washington Informer. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send change of addresses to The Washington Informer, 3117 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., S.E. Washington, D.C. 20032. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The Informer Newspaper cannot guarantee the return of photographs. Subscription rates are $45 per year, two years $60. Papers will be received not more than a week after publication. Make checks payable to:
PUBLISHER Denise Rolark Barnes
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STAFF Denise W. Barnes, Editor Shantella Y. Sherman, Assistant Editor Ron Burke, Advertising/ Marketing Director Lafayette Barnes, IV, Assistant Photo Editor Khalid Naji-Allah, Staff Photographer John E. De Freitas, Sports Photo Editor Dorothy Rowley, Online Editor Brian Young, Design & Layout Mable Neville, Bookkeeper Mickey Thompson, Social Sightings columnist Stacey Palmer, Social Media Specialist Angie Johnson, Circulation
Stacy Brown, Sam P.K. Collins, Michelle Phipps-Evans, Eve Ferguson, Gale Horton Gay, Elton J. Hayes, Njunga Kabugi, Stacey Palmer, Dorothy Rowley, Barrington Salmon, Margaret Summers, Charles E. Sutton, James Wright
It Starts With You!
welve years ago, as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation kicked off its Annual Legislative Conference, the nation moved slowly through the grieving process and loss of innocence that lay in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Performers Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson (Ashford and Simpson) began their performance at the conference, but suddenly stopped to address the collective grief hovering about the room. They asked each person to take the hand of a stranger, look them in the face for a full thirty seconds, and then embrace them. As the room filled with sobs, the duo implored the audience to think of themselves as the healers their neighbors needed; the comfort, the fresh start, the little bit of kindness, the world required to move to a better place. As the CBCF’s 43rd Annual Legislative Conference welcomes more than 10,000 people this year, the Informer challenges attendees similarly, to actively seek ways to positively impact the world around them and carry those action plans back to their own communities. In the face of continued racial and social inequities, including aggressive attempts at voter suppression and the George Zimmerman verdict, many activists have felt discouraged and disillusioned, making this year’s Conference that much more important. The call for active engagement and planning at the CBCF ALC is hardly new. In fact, from its infancy, the Caucus has aided Black communities around the world through hosting issues forums, brain trusts, town hall meetings, networking sessions, and providing health assessments. The late-actor and activist Ossie Davis said in a 1971 speech before the Caucus that it was an imperative of the legislative body to devise and disseminate a plan that would become second-nature to all Blacks and disenfranchised people. Noting the subdued nature of the civil rights movement following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Davis proclaimed, when one of our leaders is killed or falls in battle, there should be a plan of action where the next man can pick up the baton and continue the plan. In this supplement, political scientist Dr. Wilmer Leon explores Davis’ call for an action plan “so simple, so easy to remember that we carry it in our heads, so that if the storm of oppression should wipe us out, all but one family, and that family was crouching somewhere in the dark, one brother could reach out to another and say, “Hey, hey man, what’s the plan?” Denise Rolark Barnes also provides readers with insight into the future of the Caucus foundation in her interview with CBCF president, A. Shuanise Washington. This year’s ALC theme, “It Starts with You,” also urges individuals to champion much-needed change in public policy by seizing individual opportunities to improve the world around them. Harkening participants back to comedian Bill Cosby’s 1972 Caucus speech, in which he said, “You’ve got to tighten up your ship; tighten up your game because it just doesn’t end here. You don’t need speakers every day to tell you who you are and where you need to be,” it is time to put shoulders to boulders and push forward. The Washington Informer’s founder Dr. Calvin Rolark understood that the battle for equality sometimes meant pushing forward aggressively, and other times, planning economic, legislative, and social strategy. Insisting, as Dr. Rolark did, “If it is to be, it is up to me,” the Informer encourages each individual among the 10,000 that gather, to own and cultivate their own piece of progress. Read & Enjoy,
PHOTOGRAPHERS John E. De Freitas, Roy Lewis, Khalid Naji-Allah, Shevry Lassiter
Shantella Y. Sherman Editor, Special Editions
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by Muriel Hairston-Cooper
hroughout the centuries, humankind has been able to identify one person - an individual - who made a difference, who changed the thinking, who made an innovative discovery that led to a seismic shift in how history was written. “It Starts With You,” the theme of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) 43rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) from Sept. 18-21 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington hopes to have the same impact on the thousands of individuals expected to attend the four-day conference. Reps. Donna Edwards of Maryland and Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana will serve as honorary co-chairs. ALC provides an opportunity to highlight the mission of CBCF – to develop leaders, inform policy and educate the public - by providing more than 70-high level, thought-provoking forums to address the critical challenges facing African-Americans and the African Diaspora. The conference will utilize social media, including the CBCF app which will help attendees navigate through the issue forums. From the news-making town hall meeting to discussions about immigrants from the Caribbean and Diaspora and American employment to debates about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act – CBCF is bringing the issues that are critically important to the African-American community front and center. ALC attendees will have many opportunities to share their thoughts and experiences and learn the positive impact one person can have on society through intimate conversations, social media and exchanging collateral materials to become even more motivated to inspire their families, their communities and the nation. “This year our country marked several important anniversaries as well as witnessed many retracted achievements,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer for CBCF. “While we commemorated events such as the 50th anniversary March on Washington and the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, we also mourned the court rulings on the Voting Rights Act and the Trayvon Martin case. As we enter the final months of this year, we are looking to ignite personal leadership, to implore a sense of adventure, and to seek a thirst for justice through ALC,” she said. In addition to the issue forums,
Overview of rd
43 Annual Legislative Conference ALC’s news-making national town hall meeting, “From Poverty to Prosperity: Confronting Violence, Restoring Opportunity, and Investing in our Youth” will address the impact of poverty, juvenile justice and gun violence; the exhibit hall will feature a newly-introduced enterprise pavilion with both procurement and employment fairs; icons in the performing and visual arts will be honored for their contributions; and the next generation of leaders – current and alumni participants in the Foundation’s stellar internship and fellows program will be showcased. “ALC is recognized as one of the most important gatherings of African-Americans in the nation,” said Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and CBCF chair. “Every year, we see thousands of returning attendees and even more new faces ready to join the dialogue so they too can be agents of change in their communities. Our communities find support through the Foundation’s work on policies, programs and initiatives. It is our focused agenda that provides greater opportunities for all Americans.” The conference will also include the much heralded Phoenix Awards Dinner fundraiser, the inspirational Prayer Breakfast and a community outreach project in volunteering at Thrive DC, a philanthropic organization dedicated to homelessness and providing vulnerable individuals a comprehensive range of services to help stabilize their lives. Proceeds from the Saturday signature events – the Prayer Breakfast and Phoenix Awards Dinner are used to fund scholarships and other programs that positively impact the global black community. CBCF Muriel Hairston-Cooper is the Senior Communications Manager, CBCF. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on twitter: @murielhc
Attendees may register at http://cbcfinc.org/registration-2013.html Media may registration at http://www.cbcfinc.org/alc2013-registration.html Twitter – www.twitter.com/CBCFInc (#CBCFALC13, #Itstartswithyou) Facebook – www.facebook.com/CBCFInc
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Decades Later, the Plan Continues to Outweigh the Man By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III WI Contributing Writer On June 18, 1971 actor and activist Mr. Ossie Davis gave the keynote address at the first fundraiser for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). His remarks were entitled It’s Not the Man, it’s the Plan. Davis believed that the problems facing the African American community were so significant, “we stand at a dangerous but exciting junction of history.” He called for the thirteen members of the CBC to develop a plan. He gave his remarks a title because he believed the time for rhetoric had passed and he wanted his remarks to have “a subject, a title, [and] a text.” Davis saw one of the major problems facing the African American community as being the obsolescence of the unskilled labor force through automation and mechanization. “Among our people, out of every four jobs in the past, three have been in the classification of unskilled-the rough jobs that required very little education.” He believed that the Black family would be relegated to the welfare system. “…welfare is society’s answer to economic dislocation (in our cities), to its endemic unemployment for which it has no solution, nor the determination to find a solution.”
In 2013 mechanization and automation have been replaced by globalization and the exportation of jobs to other countries. According to The NY Times from 1999 to 2009, multinational companies with headquarters in the United States that had previously accounted for job growth “eliminated a net of nearly 3 million jobs in the United States while adding another 2.4 million jobs abroad.” In 2013 welfare has been replaced by mass incarceration as society’s answer to economic dislocation. The prison-industrial complex has become one of America’s answers to its unemployment problem. There are close to 2.2 million people incarcerated in America of which African American’s make up approximately fifty-two percent. In a recent article by Christopher Hedges, “The United States has spent $300 billion since 1980 to expand its prison system. We imprison 2.2 million people, 25 percent of the world’s prison population. For every 100,000 adults in this country there are 742 behind bars. Five million are on parole. Only 30 to 40 percent are white.” Poverty and other factors such as racial profiling and draconian drug laws are major contributors to the incredible increase in the American prison population and its extreme racial imbalance. Hedges writes, “In poor
Poverty and other factors such as racial profiling and draconian drug laws are major contributors to the incredible increase in the American prison population and its extreme racial imbalance. communities where there are few jobs, little or no vocational training, a dearth of educational opportunities and a lack of support structures, there are, by design, high rates of recidivism-the engine of the prison-industrial complex.” During his remarks, Ossie Davis reflected upon Dr. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech saying, “I remember coming to Washington in 1963…when Dr. King said to the nation, “I have a Dream!” Now, that dream in 1963 was not realized then, it was not realized at the time of his death, and it has not been realized now.” Having just commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, it remains obvious that the “Dream” is juxtaposed against our continued nightmare. Davis called upon the thirteen members of the CBC to provide a plan of action. “Give to us a “Ten Black Commandments,” simple and strong, that we can carry in our hearts and in our memories…and feel the
reassurance that there is behind everything we do a simple, moral, intelligent plan that must be fulfilled in the course of time.” He called upon the CBC to provide “a reassurance that there is a needed political alignment even in the black community now.” The CBC should go into every major city where Blacks are gathered, “…as a group to be seen by the people, so that Blacks in all areas, in all cities, can participate as you participate here tonight.” Today there are forty-three members of the CBC. According to Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) the 23rd Chair, Congressional Black Caucus, “in the 21st Century, African Americans and other communities of color continue to be disparately impacted by poverty, environmental, justice, and healthcare challenges.” If you go to the CBC website it is clear that the CBC is “actively involved in sponsoring and drafting legislation about issues that are important to (the) nation and to the African-Amer-
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ican community.” For all of the great work that the CBC is involved in so much more is needed. Davis ended his remarks with the following, “We want a plan so simple, so easy to remember that we carry it in our heads. So that if the storm of oppression should wipe us out, all but one family, and that family was crouching somewhere in the dark, one brother would reach out to another and say, “Hey, hey man, what’s the plan?” From President Obama to the CBC and elected state and local officials as well, we must move away from the politics of personality and focus on the politics of policy and accountability. “Let us stop making history by ad hoc methods and impromptu improvisations. Let us plan the whole thing out, give everybody his assignment, and hold him strictly responsible if he doesn’t carry it out.” “Hey, hey man, what’s the plan?” CBCF
he Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) will unveil its new Enterprise Pavilion at the Exhibits Showcase, during the Foundation’s 43rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) Sept. 18-21, 2013, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. “The Exhibit Showcase is designed to provide educational, health and business related opportunities for ALC attendees,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer for CBCF. “This year, our new Enterprise Pavilion will include a job fair, and information regarding how to secure federal and private contracts. We know that small businesses fuel our economy. The procurement portion has been added to increase the value of the Exhibit Hall experience for entrepre-
to Unveil New Enterprise Pavilion during the 43rd Annual Legislative Conference neurs and small business owners,’’ she said. The ALC Exhibit Showcase will feature nearly 200 exhibitors including corporations, government and nonprofit organizations, small businesses and a marketplace. Close to 10,000 are expected to visit the Showcase on Sept. 19 from noon - 7:00 p.m.; Sept. 20 from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Sept. 21 from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Exhibitors are arranged in Pavilions according to products and services offered and will include:
Business and Technology Pavilion
Enterprise Pavilion (Job and Procurement)
More than 75 of the nation’s premier African-American literary and scholarly talent from all over the country converge at ALC for readings and book signings. Confirmed authors include Terry McMillan, Sherrie Shepherd, Bernice King, Victoria Rowell, Dr. Robin L. Smith and Dr. Sampson Davis.
Lenders, investment professionals, credit counselors, government and private agencies and others join together at the Business and Technology Pavilion. This pavilion is designed to attract influential industry leaders from around the world to introduce new products, services or advanced technology. In addition, attendees can learn about home-based businesses, franchise opportunities, retirement, investment, asset protection and credit/debt management.
The new Enterprise Pavilion will provide a platform for individuals to learn about various job opportunities in the federal and private sectors and give minority owned businesses an opportunity to engage with government agencies and private industry around the contracting
Pavilion Connects Job Seekers, Corporations, the Government Sector, and Minority Businesses During Exhibit Showcase
process. This business exchange will be a rewarding opportunity for individual job seekers, and minority owned businesses.
Health Pavilion African Americans are disproportionately affected by a number of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and certain cancers. The Health Pavilion will offer potentially life-saving health screenings to Exhibit Showcase visitors. Screenings provided by Howard University Hospital, vital information on health issues and preventative measures will also be provided to increase awareness of the negative impact of health disparities especially for African Americans. Marketplace Pavilion Exclusively for professional artisans, designers and unique craftsman and businesses, the Marketplace Pavilion is a source
for one-stop shopping and features artistry at its best. ALC attracts high-end consumers seeking one-of-kind, high quality artistry, jewelry and clothing. CBCF ALC is recognized as one of the most important gatherings of African-American leaders in the nation. The conference provides an outlet to highlight CBCF’s mission - to develop leaders, to inform policy and to educate the public. It also provides dozens of forums to address the critical challenges facing the African-American community. The Foundation will offer numerous session tracks to present high level, thought-provoking, engaging and useful information. The conference will also include the much heralded Phoenix Awards Dinner fundraiser, the inspirational Prayer Breakfast and a community outreach project in volunteering at Thrive D.C., a philanthropic organization dedicated to homelessness and providing vulnerable individuals a comprehensive range of services to help stabilize their lives.
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TIMELINE TIMELINE 1969—The number of black Americans in Congress had doubled from five during the 90th Congress (1967-1969) to ten during the 91st Congress (1969-1971). 1969—Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. (DMI) proposed forming the Democratic Select Committee (DSC). 1970—The DSC requests a conference with President Richard Nixon, but is denied. 1971—The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is founded during the 92nd Congress (1971-1973). Founding members include Representatives Shirley A. Chisholm, William L. Clay, George W. Collins, John Conyers, Jr., Ronald V. Dellums, Charles C. Diggs, Jr., Augustus F. Hawkins, Ralph Metcalfe, Parren J. Mitchell, Robert N.C. Nix, Charles B. Rangel, Louis Stokes, and Washington D.C. delegate Walter E. Fauntroy. 1971—The CBC boycotted President Nixon’s State of the Union Address. March 1971—President Nixon agreed to a meeting with the CBC. July 1971—The CBC began sponsoring national conferences on areas such as health, education, business, media and politics. June 1972—The CBC delivered the preparation of the Black Declaration of Independence and Black Bill of Rights in Congress. 1976—The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was established. The CBCF sponsors programs under the leadership of some CBC members and other supporters. These initiatives focus on education, economic development, public health and African globalization programs. 1976—The CBC Legislative Internship Program beganto address the under-representation of black professional staff on Capitol Hill. This program provides fellowships to black graduate students to equip them with the necessary training to pursue a career in public policy. September 1978—CBC members meet with President Jimmy Carter to discuss the HumphreyHawkins Bill (H.R. 50), which established the federal government’s responsibility to ensure full employment. When it was signed into law in October 1978, Carter credited the CBC for its role in the advocacy for this bill. 1981—The CBC achieved LSO (Legislative Service Organization) status. The House Committee on Administration prohibited LSO’s from receiving outside funding, but they were allowed to establish tax exempt foundations to carry out research and other activities. March 18, 1981—The CBC unveils the “Constructive Alternative Budget Proposal Initiative” in response to Reagan’s budget for the 1982 fiscal year at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The CBC’s alternative budget distinguishes it from all other caucuses. 1982—Congress extended Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for twenty-five years. 1983— The Congressional Black Caucus and Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) and the Congressional
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Black Caucus entered into an agreement establishing the CBC Archives at MSRC. 1983—The CBCF split the Legislative Internship Program into the Congressional Internship Program – a summer internship program for undergraduate students – and the Congressional Fellowship Program – a ninemonth program for graduate students and young professionals. November 3, 1983—President Ronald Reagan signed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday into law. 1985—Congressman William Gray (D-PA), chairman of the Committee on Budget, introduced H.R. 1460, a bill that prohibited loans and new investment in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports with the nation. October 1986—Comprehensive AntiApartheid Act of 1986 (H.R. 4868) became public law 99-440. This legislation called for sanctions against South Africa and stated preconditions for lifting the sanctions, including the release of all political prisoners. (Among these political prisoners was Nelson Mandela.) President Ronald Reagan attempted to veto the bill but was overridden. The override marked the first time in the 20th century that a president had a foreign policy veto overridden. 2002—Congress passed the Help America to Vote Act. This legislation sought to improve the administration of federal elections by providing assistance with the administration of certain federal election laws and programs. September 2003—The CBC and the Fox News Channel sponsored its first Democratic presidential campaign debate in Baltimore, MD. October 2003—Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News sponsored a Democratic Presidential Primary Debate in Detroit, MI. 2005—CBC members met with President George W. Bush to discuss the renewal of the Voting Rights Act and its Amendments, which were set to expire in 2007. November 2005—All 42 House members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) introduced HR 4197, the Hurricane Katrina Recovery, Reclamation, Restoration, Reconstruction and Reunion Act of 2005. The bill was designed to provide for the recovery of the Gulf Coast region and for the reunion of families devastated by Hurricane Katrina. 2006—CBC members co-sponsored the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006. July 2006—The House voted overwhelmingly (390-33) to renew expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act. September 2006—CBCF launches the CBCF Virtual Library Project, the first and most comprehensive virtual library dedicated to recognizing the political and legislative contributions African-Americans have made in Congress. www.washingtoninformer.com
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We Salute the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on its 43rd Annual Legislative Conference.
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BOOKS Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 By Matthew Wasniewski Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007, is a comprehensive history of the more than 120 African Americans who have served in the United States Congress. Written for a general audience, this book contains a profile of each African-American Member, including notables such as Hiram Revels, Joseph Rainey, Oscar De Priest, Adam Clayton Powell, Shirley Chisholm, Gus Hawkins, and Barbara Jordan. Individual profiles are introduced by contextual essays that explain major events in congressional and U.S. history. The Color of Representation: Congressional Behavior and Black Interests By Kenny J. Whitby The central domestic issue in the United States over the long history of this nation has been the place of the people of color in American society. One aspect of this debate is how AfricanAmericans are represented in Congress.
ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICAN REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS
Kenny J. Whitby examines congressional responsiveness to black interests by focusing on the representational link between African-American constituents and the policymaking behavior of members of the United States House of Representatives. The book uses the topics of voting rights, civil rights, and race- based redistricting to examine how members of Congress respond to the interests of black voters. Whitby’s analysis weighs the relative effect of district characteristics such as partisanship, regional location, degree of urbanization and the size of the black constituency on the voting behavior of House members over time. Whitby explores how black interests are represented in formal, descriptive, symbolic, and substantive terms. He shows the political tradeoffs involved in redistricting to increase the number of African-Americans in Congress. The book is the most comprehensive analysis of black politics in the congressional context ever published. It will appeal to political scientists, sociologists, historians, and psychologists concerned with minority politics,
legislative politics, and the psychological, political, and sociological effects of increasing minority membership in Congress on the perception of government held by African Americans. Black Faces in the Mirror: African Americans and Their Representatives in the U.S. Congress By Katherine Tate Tate examines the significance of race in the U.S. system of representative democracy for African Americans. Presenting important new findings, she offers the first empirical study to take up the question of representation from both sides of the constituent-representative relationship. The first half of the book examines whether black members of the U.S. House legislate and represent their constituents differently than white members do. Representation is broadly conceptualized to include not only legislators’ roll call voting behavior and bill sponsorship, but also the symbolic acts in which they engage. The second
half looks at the issue of representation from the perspective of ordinary African Americans based on a landmark national survey. Tate’s findings are mixed. But, in the main, legislators’ race does shape how they represent their constituents and how constituents evaluate them. African Americans view black representatives more positively than they do white representatives, even those who belong to their own political party. Black legislators, however, are just as likely as white representatives to sponsor and gain passage of bills in the House. Tate also concludes that black House members are more liberal as a group than are their black constituents, but that there is considerable divergence in the quality and type of representation they provide. The findings reported here will generate controversy in the fields of politics, law, and race, particularly as debate commences over renewing the Voting Rights Act, which is set to expire in 2007.
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New Leader Plans for “Flawless Execution”
By Denise Rolark Barnes WI Staff Writer
A. Shuanise Washington, President and CEO, CBCF / Courtesy photo
A. Shuanise Washington’s first impression of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) came when she was a teenager. On a visit to the District with her dad, who was an educator, she met Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy, D.C.’s first non-voting member of Congress and a founding member of the CBC. “I didn’t fully appreciate it then, but it was a special encounter,” she said. Fauntroy gave her his autograph, which she still keeps in a safe place in her home in Mitchellville, Md. The Columbia, S.C.-native would go on to attend the University of South Carolina and establish a successful career as a corporate executive at Altria Corporate Services, Inc. (the parent company of Philip Morris USA). While there, she not only followed the progress of the CBC but also helped to establish a vital partnership between the organization’s non-profit arm, the CBC Foundation and Altria. Washington successfully climbed the corporate ladder to become vice president of external affairs at Altria before retiring after 22 years. Her commitment to the CBCF continued as she helped steer significant financial support to the organization resulting in Altria becoming its first major corporate sponsor. Altria’s philanthropy propelled Washington onto the CBCF Board of Directors, first as treasurer and later as vice president. The relationship she built spanning more than two decades is one in which Washington is extremely proud. Receiving corporate donations -- and sizeable ones at that -- is the pursuit of nearly every non-profit organi-
zation. For Washington, who believed in the CBCF’s mission, “it was also a pleasure to work for a company [Altria] that understood its commitment to the community and shared my passion for the CBCF mission,” which is to advance the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public. Founded in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy, research and educational institute that aims to help improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities. With the support of the African American members of Congress, which today total 46, the CBCF develops programs and research to address public health concerns, economic empowerment and health disparities. Fellowship and internship programs expose African American students and professionals to public policy and public service opportunities on Capitol Hill and in state and federal governments. Yet, it was still a surprise when Washington retired in 2008, at age 45, to pursue a career as an entrepreneur – so much so that the CBCF came knocking on her door following the resignation of Dr. Elsie Scott, who served as CBCF’s president and CEO from 2006-2012. Scott left to assume leadership of the newly established Ron W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center at Howard University and Washington was nominated for the vacant post at CBCF. She had started Washington Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm that provided management and development services to
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Pictured above (L-R): Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA), Chair, CBCF Board of Directors; A. Shuanise Washington, President and CEO, CBCF; Kyle Dixon, VP of Public Policy, Time Warner; Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) / Courtesy photo
“Significant events including the Supreme Court decision on voting rights and the Trayvon Martin decision, along with the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington remind us that we have a lot to be proud of, but it is also a huge realization that our work is not done.” –A. Shuanise Washington businesses of all sizes, governments, and non-profit organizations. “I wasn’t looking for a job, but I prayed on it,” Washington said. “I’m prayerful about every decision.” Washington described it as “experiencing another blessing” that lead to her decision to take the position and this year on February 13 she said she was welcomed by the CBCF board, 31 staff members and nine interns with “a bouquet of flowers, a beautiful card and their commitment of support.” Washington will not be a guest of the 43rd Annual CBCF Legislative Weekend. She won’t be there handing over the big check to the CBCF representatives. Instead, she will be the host, doing her best to make sure that the nearly 10,000 attendees of the more than 40 town halls, workshops, luncheons, breakfasts and, of course, parties, have as meaningful experience this year, as they have in the past 42. She
will be the one hoping the commitment she made while in corporate America will be replicated by those who are in those positions today and that donations will continue to flow to support the programs of the CBCF. “My biggest challenge is resources,” she added. “We will need to keep our expenses low and make sure that the dollars are going to the right purposes.” “This has been a watershed year,” Washington said. “Significant events including the Supreme Court decision on voting rights and the Trayvon Martin decision, along with the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington remind us that we have a lot to be proud of, but it is also a huge realization that our work is not done.” It is no surprise that Washington suggests that a highlight of this year’s CBCF Annual Legislative Weekend will be the Enterprise Pavilion. “There have always been large corporations
present who’ve supported our annual job fair, but this year we will include a small business component that will focus on best practices and procurement. We don’t want to just focus on having jobs, but creating jobs with small businesses, as well,” Washington said. Over 200 exhibitors are expected. This year’s theme, It Starts with You, is a call to action for the average citizen to be and lead the positive change needed in public policy. “We encourage everyone, be they political figures, leaders in industry and non-profit organizations, celebrities eager to lend their voices to a cause, or citizens with a desire to obtain information to uplift their communities, to come together to exchange ideas and create solutions to the unique issues facing African Americans today,” said Washington. CBCF
Pictured above (L-R): A. Shuanise Washington, President and CEO, CBCF; Hon. Carrie P. Meek (FL); Kyle Dixon, VP of Public Policy, Time Warner; and Keith Wright, chief operating officer, CBCF. / Courtesy photo
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CBCF PAVILION 2012
The 2012 fashion extravaganza showcased the talent of local, national, and international designers. / Photo by Roy Lewis
Rev. Jesse Jackson pauses in the Pavilion to sign autographs and talk to visitors. / Photo by Roy Lewis
Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) looks on as Colin Powell signs copies of this memoir. / Photo by Shevry Lassiter
cbcf-12 THE WASHINGTON INFORMER | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | SEPTEMBER 2013 www.washingtoninformer.com
by Muriel Hairston-Cooper
ince 1976 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Leadership Institute for Public Service (LIPS) has prepared young adults to take their place as leaders in their communities who are promoting civic engagement and developing policy and initiatives that improve education and the economic well being of African Americans. By creating a pipeline through LIPS and its competitive scholarship programs, its stellar internships and now its international-focused fellowship programs, the Foundation has created a pool of diverse, forward thinking professionals who bring a unique perspective to government, nonprofit and private industries throughout America. To meet a variety of needs, the Foundation offers several scholarships with emphasis on health,
Leadership Institute for Public Service and Emerging Leaders Track
the environment, performing and visual arts and general education. The top fields of study for the 2012 recipients were biology, nursing, pre-med, pharmacy, education, political science, business administration, psychology and music. In 2011, the top four schools of scholarship recipients were Howard University, Morehouse College, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2012, applicants from the top schools of recipients for CBCF scholarships almost doubled and included Elon University, Howard University, Jackson State University, and Maryland Institute College of Art which tied with University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, reflecting an increase in quality recipients from other universities and states that were not represented in previous years. In addition, awards given to students pursuing a master’s de-
gree increased by about 22 percent. “Not only am I the first person in my family to earn an undergraduate degree, but I will also be the first to earn a graduate degree as well,” said Shay Mays, a CBC Spouses Education Scholarship Recipient attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “I am eternally grateful. Your generosity has made my dreams of changing my future a reality, and I would like to sincerely say ‘Thank You.’” “ The Foundation also offers three internship programs – Emerging Leaders, Communications and the summer Congressional interns. “Much of CBCF’s reputation and certainly our mission are built on the success of our internship programs,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer for the Foundation. “We are known internationally for our competitive, intensive program that gives a behind-the-scenes look into the
democratic process. This is such a rewarding experience because we bring the students in as individuals and they leave as a cohort with a strong sense of what it is like to be involved in public service.” Since its inception, more than 1,300 students have participated in Foundation internships. More than 300 well-qualified students applied for the summer session, an 11 percent increase from last summer. “With recent election activities on a national and state level, we are seeing a new generation that will not be dismissed,” said Marjorie Innocent, Ph.D. vice president of Research & Programs at CBCF. “This is also a cohort that grew up with participating in community service activities and committing early to giving back to their communities. Creating and working in public policy is an extension of this mindset,” she said. The Fellows progam has expanded its programmatic expe-
riences to include placements in congressional members’ offices and committee assignments. Fellow responsibilities include producing policy papers and legislative analysis, as well as developing legislative and public policy initiatives. Last year two new fellowships – the Donald M. Payne Foreign Policy Fellowship and CBCF Fellowship on Energy were added to the Foundation’s portfolio. All of the Foundation’s interns and fellows receive stipends as well as educational enrichment opportunities through seminars on policy and politics. Both the intern and fellows programs are described as one of the top public policy training experiences in Washington, D.C. Fellows’ alumni include White House appointee to the Department of Education David Johns, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and his wife Christa Beverly, and Stacy Barton, chief of staff for Rep. Runyan of New Jersey. cbcf
Also see 1963: Civil Rights at 50, highlighting news coverage of key civil rights events from 1963.
Washington, D.C. • newseum.org
SEPTEMBER 2013 | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | THE WASHINGTON INFORMER cbcf-13
and Spouses Activities During 43rd Annual Legislative Conference
by Muriel Hairston-Cooper
he Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc (CBCF) and the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses will recognize the contributions of three icons in the arts, 8 p.m. -10:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18, during the 17th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This fundraising event for scholarships in the performing and visual arts kicks off the 43rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from Sept. 18-21. Tickets are still available for this event which will honor film director and producer Antoine Fuqua, visual artist Carrie Mae Weems and author Tananarive Due. “Mr. Fuqua is one of the few African Americans in Hollywood leading his own production company while Ms. Weems and Ms. Due are independent artists, versed in a variety of mediums, whose works have been admired by millions worldwide,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. “These groundbreaking artists, trailblazers in their own rights, perfectly embody the theme of this year’s ALC, It Starts With You, and we are pleased to recognize and celebrate their valuable contributions to African-American culture.” In addition, 20 undergraduate students studying performing and visual arts will be recognized as scholarship recipients. More than 250 performing and visual arts students applied for CBCF’s national scholarship program in 2013. “We are seeing an increase in scholarship applications indicating the importance of the arts
programs in schools,” said Katrina Finch, scholarship coordinator for CBCF. “The Foundation and the Spouses recognize that students should experience a full realm of academic challenges as well as opportunities to explore the arts,” she said. The Foundation and the spouses will also host the 8th Annual Community Breakfast and Health Fair from 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on September 19, at Thrive DC located at 1525 Newton Street, NW. The community breakfast, begun by the CBC Spouses, provides an opportunity for the Foundation, the Spouses, members of congress and corporate partners to participate in a community service event during ALC. Breakfast will be served to homeless followed by free health screenings. “Each year CBCF and a host of partners join forces to address the urgent nutritional and medical challenges impacting our community,” said Keith Wright, chief operating officer for CBCF. “The partnership with Thrive DC will allow for comprehensive health screenings and needed services to our neighbors most in need. Sponsors for the Community Health Breakfast are General Mills, Inc., Safeway, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Baxter Healthcare. In Kind donations are provided by Safeway, Personal Care Products Council, PepsiCo, APRO, The Trade Association, Buddy’s Home Furnishings, Baxter Healthcare, General Mills, Inc. and The Sears Associate Gospel Choir Health screening will be provided by Walgreens, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Safeway and the American Dental Association. Screenings will include cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, BMI, body composition, skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, visceral fat,
real body age and body weight, HIV/AIDS screenings, dental examinations and FREE Flu shots provided by Safeway. The Spouses will also recognize three high school students for their essays on bullying as part of their national essay contest which invites students to research, write and analysis topics that are front burner issues. The students will be recognized during the 2013 Issue Forum, entitled Speak Up, Stand Up – United Against Bullying, 2:15pm-3:15pm, September 19, at Benjamin Banneker High School located at 800 Euclid Street, NW. Others panelists include Miss Elena Pass, a teen ambassador from the STOMP Out Bullying organization and Consultant/ Speaker/Author Robert Jackson, who wrote the book “No More Excuses: Put a Stop to Bullying”. The issue forum will be moderated by Moraima “Mo” Ivory, an on-air personality who appears on CNN, HLN and Fox 5 offering her commentary on top news items of the day. ALC is recognized as one of the most important gatherings of African-American leaders in the nation. The conference provides an outlet to highlight CBCF’s mission - to develop leaders, to inform policy and to educate the public. It also provides dozens of forums to address the critical challenges facing the African-American community. The Foundation will offer numerous session tracks to present high level, thought-provoking, engaging and useful information. The conference will also include the much heralded Phoenix Awards Dinner fundraiser and the inspirational Prayer Breakfast.CBCF For ticket information go to www.cbcfinc.org
Antoine Fuqua / Photos courtesy of CBCF
Carrie Mae Weems
Author Tananarive Due
cbcf-14 THE WASHINGTON INFORMER | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | SEPTEMBER 2013 www.washingtoninformer.com
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SEPTEMBER 2013 | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | THE WASHINGTON INFORMER cbcf-15
†2014 Kia Cadenza initially only available in certain markets with limited availability. Call your dealer for availability. Cadenza shown with optional Technology Package (which requires Luxury Package). 1Advanced Smart Cruise Control is not a substitute for proper and safe driving. This system may not detect every object in the vehicle’s blind spot or direction of travel. Always drive safely and use caution when using this feature. 2 Infinity® is a trademark of Harman International Industries, Inc.
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cbcf-16 THE WASHINGTON INFORMER | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | SEPTEMBER 2013 www.washingtoninformer.com
By Nikitra Bailey
new report by the Pew Research Center exposes how America’s racial divides are reflected in multiple dimensions of life. From poverty, to education, life expectancy and more, the report released just days before the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington underscores that Black America’s journey towards equality has a very long way to travel. The report states, “The economic gulf between blacks and whites that was present a half century ago has not disappeared. Measures of household income, household wealth, and homeownership show that the gaps are as wide or wider today, as they were in the 1960s and 1970s.” Among Pew’s disturbing findings: • The black homeownership rate in 2012 is no different
than it was in 1976, while white ownership rates grew to 73 percent, 44 percent of black households are homeowners; The median net worth of white households is $91,405 – nearly 12 times the $7,843 median net worth of black households; and The average black household earns $39,760 about 59 percent of what white households earn at $67,175.
For most Americans, homeownership is the primary way to build wealth. For low-wealth communities and those of color, homeownership is even more important. Now, as the nation’s economy shows some measurable signs of improvement, the future of the American Dream faces new legislative efforts for government to mandate down payments. Two bills, one each in the Senate and
remains the best opportunity to build family wealth
House, would change the nation’s secondary mortgage market that now ensures access to credit for low-wealth families. Reforming the nation’s secondary market system is a point of concern because it will be a major determinant in who has access to mortgage credit going forward. Both bills would further exacerbate current wealth and homeownership gaps by discontinuing the long-standing practice of allowing the mortgage market to set down payment parameters. If a government-mandated five percent down payment mandate were to emerge, it would delay homeownership for African-Americans and Latinos for 28 and 17 years respectively. This delay takes into consideration the additional time that it would take for families to save for typical closing costs, which are an added three percent of the mortgage. Why would we hamper economic opportunity in communities of color when we know that homeownership is a mechanism
that is capable of helping to close our nation’s persistent and growing racial wealth gap? In a recent report, Brandeis University’s Dr. Tom Shapiro identified the gap in homeownership as the biggest contributor to the racial wealth gap. Also, it is short sighted not to consider the macro-economic implications of a five percent down payment requirement on the nation’s economy. Housing is a pillar of the economy. The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies projects that from 2013-2020, 70 percent of net new households will be comprised of people of color. If we delay the opportunity for borrowers of color to purchase homes, we slow economic recovery, which would reduce home equity for all Americans and increase defaults and foreclosure rates. Congress determining what down payment requirements should be would result in denied access for millions of Americans who are already demonstrating
that they can successfully pay their mortgages. A third of African-American borrowers and more than a fifth of Latino borrowers who were successfully paying their mortgages in 2011 would not have been able to access their loans if a five percent down payment had been required at the time. We must act with the fierce urgency of now to do as President Obama recommended in his address commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington --advance economic opportunity for all. By ensuring broad market access in the future mortgage market we will take important steps to close the racial wealth gap. Nikitra Bailey is an executive vice-president with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Nikitra.Bailey@ responsiblelending.org.
SEPTEMBER 2013 | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | THE WASHINGTON INFORMER cbcf-17
CBCF All photos courtesy of CBCF
The KIA Motors pavillion in the Exhibit Showcase was a big hit at the 2012 ALC meetings.
Reps. Karen Bass, Sheila Jackson Lee, Yvette Clark, Barbara Lee & Donna Christensen at 2012 ALC Womenâ€™s Leadership Reception
2012 ALC Health Pavilion.
Roland Martin at 2012 ALC panel
There was strong participation in the 2012 town hall.
The CBCF interns of the 43rd Congress
Reps. Gwen Moore and Danny K. Davis were among those helping to serve at 2012 ALC Community Breakfast
cbcf-18 THE WASHINGTON INFORMER | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | SEPTEMBER 2013 www.washingtoninformer.com
CBCF All photos courtesy of CBCF
Michelle Obama and Eric Holder were two of the featured speakers at the 2012 Phoenix Awards
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are all smiles on stage at the 2012 Phoenix Awards Gala
Donna Brazile, Rep. Melvin Watt, and Rep. John Lewis at 2012 National Town Hall
SEPTEMBER 2013 | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | THE WASHINGTON INFORMER cbcf-19
Develop Leaders. inform Policy. Educate the Public. ...This is what we do.
GET ENGAGED. STAY CONNECTED. Each year, CBCF prepares the next generation of leaders by providing internships, fellowships and scholarships to hundreds of students from all over the country. We are able to provide critical programs and research due to the generosity of our donors. Support CBCF today!
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cbcf-20 THE WASHINGTON INFORMER | 43RD ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS SPECIAL ISSUE | SEPTEMBER 2013 www.washingtoninformer.com