Congressman Cedric Richmond has been a Congressman in New Orleans for the past 6 years. During his tenure he has experienced some of the best and worst times in the country and has had a front row seat for all of the action. Now the 43 year old congressman has taken on a new challenge as the newly elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus one of the most powerful coalitions in the nation.
When asked why he decided to take on this role the congressman explained, “I have always been interested in serving as chair of the Caucus but over the Thanksgiving Holiday I began to contemplate what life was going to look like in the new environment of the Trump Administration and realized that the CBC was going to have to take the lead role in insuring African Americans have a loud and active voice”. The congressman felt he was up to the challenge and in November his colleagues in congress and in the senate voted him as the Chairman of the caucus.
Richmond knows that the next 2 years are going to be crucial and the only way things are going to get accomplished for African Americans and other disenfranchised communities is if the leadership and members of the caucus have strategic thinking, strategic planning and strategic execution.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi asked that all Democrats defer to senior members in crucial leadership roles. Richmond didn’t see this request as a deterrent.
“The CBC has never been an organization led or deferred to by seniority and I believed I was best suited to take on this role,” stated the three term congressional leader and obviously, his colleagues agreed.
As part of Richmond’s leadership he has vowed to support the Black Press and Black Media throughout the country. He has formed an alliance with past NNPA Chairman Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. and NNPA President Ben Chavis to insure that African American media is included and plays and active role in getting the message of what is going on in the national government to the communities that they serve.
He is a supporter of the Black Press and when asked why he feels it is necessary to take on this challenge the congressman had this to say.
“Black Media and particularly the Black Press play and extraordinary role in getting our message out to our communities, print media especially plays an important role because the Black Press is highly regarded within our communities and people have a greater trust on the information that they receive via the Black Press”.
“Now that we no longer have a president (Obama) who can or is willing to call a press conference and get information out to our people we must be strategic in working with the Black Press to get our information and our story to the people,” he added.
Richmond understands the power and role the federal government plays in supporting all media, and he feels that supporting the Black Press is a key tool in insuring that the African American Community is not ignored in this process.
“The Federal Government Is the largest advertiser in the country and for us to ignore, not support or cripple our Black Newspapers would be a travesty. If we don’t advertise in the Black Press we are missing and not taking advantage of a way to communicate to the millions of African Americans throughout the country. We cannot allow the Black Press to go away or be weakened and I am committed to working with Danny Sr and the NNPA to get the Federal Government more active in advertising in Black Newspapers.
Diversity is a word that in today’s political climate is thrown around in almost every government and corporate office, but rarely have we seen African Americans benefit from the roles or discussions about diversity. Chairman Richmond intends to hold everyone accountable to making sure African Americans are part of this diversity discussion. “Just as we discuss and take diversity very seriously within the house in regards to employment we must also lobby for diversity in advertising and take that just as seriously”.
Chairman Richmond is not stopping at the Black Press in moving forward the agenda of the CBC. He recently met with the national leaders of most of the major African American Civil Rights Organizations and they have agreed to meet regularly to organize and function in unison to move forward the Black Agenda. “I have also reached out to the leaders of the major civil rights organizations across the country and we have agreed to meet regularly and work together to sustain the and uphold the things that are important in sustaining a quality of life for African Americans. We have been through tough times before and this is no different”
When asked what is the agenda for his CBC administration the Chairman was not shy about what he intends to fight for and get done over the next two years. He said the goals of his administration are not much different than the agenda that the CBC has been fighting for since its inception.
“We cannot not let this administration strip away the safety net which provides services and support for many of the people residing in our communities,” he said.
Chairman Richmond knows that raising the minimum wage is essential to creating a stronger foundation for families. “We want to work and find ways to preserve the family unit. We must fight for real criminal justice reform so that people are actually given a 2nd chance and have real opportunities for employment so that they can live productive lives and create more stable family environments.”
Congressman Cedric Richmond knows that the CBC will continue to fight for the same things they have been fighting for since its inception in 1971. “Unfortunately, it appears that President Trump does not take these things seriously so we must fight harder and not to allow the progress we have made go backwards and continue to make strides in moving our community forward.”