CBC members call Black leadership from across the nation together for critical conversation on the Census and 2020 election.
The CBC continues to lead the charge of what’s at stake for African Americans under the Trump Administration. Under the leadership of Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), over 600 Black leaders from around the country joined the Congressional Black Caucus for a 2-Day National Black Leadership Summit.
Participants came together to call national attention to two critical issues of the day for the Black community: 2020 Census and Voting Rights, both of which have implications for the development of Black communities in the short and long term.
“The Congressional Black Caucus convened this National Black Leadership Summit because it is time to sound the alarm. There is a lot at stake in 2020 and we cannot afford to take it for granted. If we do not fix what is going wrong in this country now, the next two and a half generations will be impacted. We look forward to today’s discussions and to build a unified consensus on next steps to engage our community and promote the development of underserved communities in America,” said Bass.
The Summit opened with the Congressional Black Caucus Pac Chair Rep. Gregory Meeks who called out names of candidates that were important to re-elect or elect in an effort to flip the Senate and strengthen the House of Representatives. The night was moderated by Host Roland Martin of “Unfiltered.”
Day 2 was moderated by Angela Rye, CEO of IMPACT Strategies and former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus (112th Congress). Remarks came from the Chair of the Democratic Caucus Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Vice Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13). The keynote was delivered by Bishop William J. Barber, chief architect of the Poor People’s Campaign.
Bishop Barber reminded CBC members that the organization was the “conscious of Congress” and told CBC members “you don’t get power to be cute, you get power to get ugly for the people!” He also stressed the importance of focusing on the south and poor people with historical facts to back up his point of view.
After the church sermon/ keynote address the panels started. The first session, “The Fight for Justice,” facilitated by the First Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Representative Joyce Beatty (OH-03) drilled down on the disparities in equity and access faced by Black Americans in key issues like healthcare, criminal justice, education, the environment, and the social safety net. Panelists included: Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-8); Marc Morial, president & CEO, Urban League; Kristen Clarke, president, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Andrea James, executive director, National Council for Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls; and Mayor Lovely Warren, African American Mayors Association.
The second session, “The Power of Movement,” was facilitated by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). The panel took a look at the collective power of the Black community and the work being done to protect the right to vote and to ensure our community is counted. Panelists included: Marcus Bass, executive director, Advance Carolina; Annetta Wells; coordinator, SEIU Local 2015; Dr. Jeanine Abrams Mclean; vice-president, Fair Count; and Dr. Everett Kelley, national secretary & treasurer, American Federation of Government Employees.
Next, the members held a press conference where national activist and leader Melanie Campbell gave the charge to “do two in 2020 that’s vote and be counted. The first six months of the year the primaries elections are taking place and the Census count is taking place. They both are about money power and respect.” When asked why was it important for her to be a part of the summit, she responded, “our community is being attacked on so many levels. Our community needs to see us coming together to sound the alarm for action.”
The press conference was followed by a reception in the Library of Congress sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation which has a focus on internships, trainings and scholarships for the young gifted and Black.
Daphne Titus a Los Angeles native and Rep. Karen Bass constituent gave her thoughts on the summit, “I’m so grateful to see my hometown paper here and the message for 2020 is to mobilize more. Mobilize for the Census, mobilize to register to vote and mobilize to get out the vote.”
Additional information provided by Congressional Black Caucus.