DNC: Investments in African-American Community Key to Historic Election Night
In response to momentous black support and historic victories of African-American candidates up and down the ballot, DNC Political and Organizing Director Amanda Brown Lierman released the following statement:
“The DNC knows that the victories we celebrate this morning would be impossible without the massive support from the African-American men and women who made up about a fifth of the commonwealth’s electorate. Undoubtedly a cornerstone of our party, black voters continued to surge to the polls in a tremendous way, set the tone for future elections, and paved the way for government that truly represents them. That’s exactly why we will continue to engage black communities across the nation and fight to ensure every single eligible voter has the power to exercise their franchise.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, investing in communities of color was central to November 7th’s tide-turning victories. In Virginia, 100 percent of our investments went into doubling the number of organizers and putting boots in the ground. Since last summer, we’ve been committed to spending on a mail program that targets and reaches out to black communities. We know that when we invest in the core of our party, we win. That’s why we invested in a black women’s mobilization program, InCharge. Yesterday in Virginia, over 90% of black women cast ballots for Governor Ralph Northam. These women are the reason we won last night’s elections, and they’re the reason we’ll win in 2018.
“Because of all this, we saw black voters turn a purple commonwealth to blue. We saw Virginia Lt. Governor-elect Justin Fairfax become only the second African American elected to statewide office. New Jersey voters elected their first female African-American lieutenant governor in Sheila Oliver. And now Charlotte has elected its first-ever African-American mayor in Vi Lyles.
“With their ballots, African-American communities across the nation sent a loud, resounding message to Republicans who stand with Donald Trump and try to use his hateful rhetoric as a vehicle for political successyou do not represent us.”
Black Democratic Victories
· Justin Fairfax, Virginia lieutenant governor-elect
* Second-ever African American elected to statewide office in Virginia
· Sheila Oliver, New Jersey lieutenant governor-elect
* First-ever female African-American lieutenant governor of New Jersey
· Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council
* First-ever openly transgender African-American woman elected to U.S. public office
· Vi Lyles, Charlotte, North Carolina mayor-elect
* First-ever female African-American mayor of Charlotte
· Yvonne Spicer, Framingham, Massachusetts mayor-elect
* First-ever mayor of the new city of Framingham
· Wilmot Collins, Helena, Montana mayor-elect
* First-ever African-American mayor in Montana
· Melvin Carter, St. Paul, Minnesota mayor-elect
* First-ever African-American mayor of St. Paul
· Jonathan McCollar, Statesboro, Georgia mayor-elect
* First-ever African-American mayor of Statesboro
· Brendon Barber, Georgetown, South Carolina mayor-elect
* First-ever African-American mayor of Georgetown
· Mary Parham Copelan, Milledgeville, Georgia mayor-elect
* First-ever female African-American mayor of Milledgeville
· Booker Gainor, Cairo, Georgia mayor-elect
* First-ever African-American mayor of Cairo
DNC: White House Doubles Down on Kelly’s Defense of Confederacy
During today’s White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to disavow White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s defense of the Confederacy.* In response, DNC Deputy Press Secretary Brian Gabriel released the following statement:
“Today should have been an opportunity for the White House to apologize for John Kelly’s comments and make clear that this administration truly represents all Americans. They failed. Instead, the Trump White House refused to disavow or apologize for Kelly’s defense of the Confederacy and even failed to condemn the institution of slavery when given the chance. This administration’s attempts to erase the past and present struggle of people of color needs to cease immediately. Whether they like it or not, the Trump administration’s job is to represent and serve the millions of black Americans who are watching as this shameful rhetoric continues.
“The Americans hurt most by these comments do not seek to change history books. They want this president and his staff to actually open one. They wish for a government that acknowledges their history of suffering, empathizes with their pain, and looks to right past wrongs. With Trump at the helm, this wish appears to be no closer to reality than John Kelly’s untruthful comments.”
*The Confederacy refers to the Confederate States of America, which in an act of treason, seceded from and took up arms against the United States of America in 1861 in an effort to preserve and expand the institution of chattel slavery.
Youthful Enthusiasm About Black-owned Bank Leads to Growing National Business
By Hazel Trice Edney
Marcus Howard and Charles Hands (center), co-founders of Engage Millennials, have provided valuable advice to M&F Bank executives Travis Rouse, chief sales officer; and James Sills III, president/CEO.
Marcus Howard and Charles Hands III, friends and colleagues since their days as students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, became increasingly amazed as they read a book about the history of Black business ownership in Durham, N.C.
In the early 20th Century, a hub called Black Wall Street bustled with Black economic vitality. Enthralled with the information, the two young professionals dug deeper and were shocked to discover that at least one of the businesses, Mechanics and Farmers (M&F) Bank, is now 110 years old and is still thriving in 2017 with an office in every major city in North Carolina. Greatly inspired, Howard and Hands decided to go banking.
"We'd read about Black Wall Street and the millionaires and the business owners. And we said, 'Wait a minute, these African-American people just got out of slavery and they created neighborhoods and prosperity. Why can't we get back to that?' That's why we went right to the bank looking to put our money in there," said Howard in an interview during the 90th anniversary of the National Bankers Association (NBA), a D.C.-based organization of minority owned banks.
But when the 26-year-olds walked into M&F Bank to start the process of making deposits, they became disillusioned. Despite the fact that the historic Mechanics and Farmers Bank was still prospering and holding its own in a world of large white-owned banks, it had not kept up with advanced technologies and 21st century customer service methods.
"When we went into the bank, it was just not what we'd pictured," says Howard. "What we saw though was solvable. We knew that, okay, we can create a solution for it and we can help build it up to what we believe it could be and what we imagined it was while we were reading."
So, instead of walking out of the bank and bashing it on social media, Howard and Hands seized the opportunity. They decided to reach out to the bank's leaders in a way that would get their attention.
"We didn't email, we didn't call," said Hands. "We wrote a hand-written letter to the CEO and put a stamp on it and sent it off. In about a week, we got a call back."
That call came from James Sills III, president/CEO of M&F Bank. Then came a series of meetings between Sills, the two millennials and other bank officials. Those meetings have started a new life for all involved.
It resulted in the formation of the M&F Bank Millennial Advisory Board. It has also sprung into a brand new business called Engage Millennials, a consulting company that helps businesses to effectively serve the next generation of customers. Co-founded by Marcus Howard and Charles Hands, the company offers a team of experts specializing in social media, millennial strategic planning and millennial marketing.
"This is very important because these are our future leaders," says M&F Bank President Sills. "We need the energy. We need new customers. All businesses need new customers in order to survive. Partnering with this group; plus the other eight members of our millennial advisory board will help us in the area of technology and marketing. They're learning something from us and we're learning something from them. I think every bank is trying to tap into that group. I think they just need to figure out how."
That's where the National Bankers Association comes in. NBA President Michael Grant sees such value in Engage Millennials, that he is working to connect the company with all of the NBA member banks.
"Charles and Marcus are following the cardinal rule for young entrepreneurs - find a need and fill it," said Grant. "They have identified strategies for getting millennials to support Black banks. They are committed to the success of these banks because they want the banks to reach more consumers so that African-Americans can become more economically self-sufficient."
It's been several years since Hands and Howard graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hands, originally from Wilmington, N.C., has since graduated from law school and now practices real estate and business law. Howard, from St. Louis, is now studying for a doctorate in educational policy and human development with a research focus in STEM education and the preparedness of teachers in low income, predominately African-American communities.
Despite their career paths, they exude yet another cardinal rule for entrepreneurs - passion about their product. They agree that their enthusiasm will be key to getting their messages across to their friends and contemporaries.
"The attitude of millennials about Black banks is they don't know about them," says Howard. "And so, one of the things that we want to do is make it known to the public that there are Black banks and they do have a social justice theme because a lot of these Black banks give right back into the community. And we want them to know that the bank that you currently are banking with may not be the best for your particular community. And so we're kind of saying, 'Hey you need to support an institution that cycles money back into your community.'"
The two young men say they have received positive reinforcements from friends.
"All of our friends are super excited and impressed by what we're doing," says Hands. "I think just getting a job is respected and it is looked up to if you get a good job. But what's looked up to even further is if you do your own business and do something that's unique and different in the world."
Howard adds, "Again, not many of our friends knew about Black banks and so when we started this and started working with this, a lot of our friends started putting money in Black banks because they too believed in our vision. So that's a part of what Engage Millennials is about. Our friends are sending that message to their friends and continuing to further the vision of a revitalization of economic power for the Black community."
It appears obvious that at some point prospective clients at White-owned banks and other corporations will seek the wisdom of Engage Millennials. But, Howard and Hands say they prefer to remain focused.
"What we're doing is mission driven. Our mission is to build up Black communities," says Hands. "Engage Millennials is to attract the millennials so that the banks can capitalize on the spending power of millennials to uplift the Black community and to revitalize the community so that we can see the communities that we read about in the 1920s and the Reconstruction Period. That's what we want to see and that's our vision. Not to say that we wouldn't maybe create some solution whereby they can help us further our mission. For us it's really not about the money. It's about the vision that we have for our community."
Meanwhile, both Engage Millennials and the Black-owned banks will maintain relationships that benefit both ways.
"We also learn from them. We learn how boards are run, we've learned how CEOs of banks think and how chief marketing officers of banks think, how banks run, how banks make money," says Howard. "And what they get in return is marketing strategies and technological solutions from millennials."
He concludes, it takes humility and openness from both sides:
"It takes the leaders of these banks who are currently in power to let us in. That's why we give credit to Jim Sills of M&F Bank because he saw our vision. He let us in, he let us help. It's a two-way street ... And that's the story."
National Bankers Association (NBA) President Michael Grant introduced Marcus Howard and Charles Hands III to NBA bankers during the organization's 90th Anniversary celebration.
Remembering History and Black Public Health Champions during National Minority Health Month
In April of 1915, Booker T. Washington proposed “National Negro Health Week," recognizing that "without health and long life, all else fails.” His idea gradually evolved into observing the month of April as National Minority Health Month to raise awareness and eventually help eliminate the health disparities facing racial and ethnic minorities.
National Minority Health Month offers a platform to call attention to the deep injustices experienced by people of color and an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of black public health champions who have worked to protect and advance the health of marginalized communities.
If we trace history, it’s clear that the medical profession didn’t think the Hippocratic Oath Primum non nocere, or "first, do no harm," applied to citizens of color. The glaring truth is that science does not operate in isolation from systems of deeply rooted racism and oppression that plague scientific, political, and cultural institutions in the United Statesparticularly when it comes to health. Such systems have been used to justify unfathomably cruel and inhumane medical experimentation performed on enslaved black people, which were only replaced in the Jim Crow era by pervasive medical mistreatment that resulted in untold fatalities. Racist medical practices were tolerated, if not explicitly condoned, by professional organizations such as the American Medical Association through the late 1960s. The government-funded Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which effectively denied syphilis treatment to nearly 400 black men over the course of 40 years, ended in 1972, but a formal apology was not issued for this deliberate violation of human rights until 1997. And still, in doctors’ offices and hospital rooms across the United States today, race remains a significant predictor of the quality of healthcare a person will receive.
But perhaps just as troubling as the underpinnings of racism in science and medicine is the relative obscurity of racism in the historical narratives propagated by dominant white culture. That modern medicine was built on the backs of marginalized populations is well understood and indeed has been lived by many, but it is far from being accepted as universal truth. Meanwhile, the contributions of black scientists, doctors, and health advocates have routinely been eclipsed by those of their white colleagues or are absent entirely from historical records.
These advocates range from high-profile figures like Dr. Regina Benjamin, the 18th U.S. Surgeon General who shifted the national focus on health from a treatment-based to a prevention-based perspective, to grassroots activists like Detroit’s Malik Yakini, who in 2006 founded the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network to ensure that Detroit communities could exercise sovereignty and self-determination in producing and consuming affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food. They include Byllye Avery, who in 1974 established the Gainesville Women’s Health Center to expand critical access to abortions and other health care services to black women, and Dr. Camara Jones, former president of the American Public Health Association, who skillfully brought the impact of racism on health and well-being to the forefront of the public health agenda. These figures even include Bobby Seale. Though he may be best remembered as the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Seale worked to establish a dozen free community health clinics nationwide and a free breakfast program that grew to serve 20,000 children in 19 cities around the country.
It is imperative that we not only highlight the health disparities experienced by communities of color that have resulted from interlocking structures of oppression, but also recognize the leaders who have stood on the frontlines demanding change. This must not happen only during National Minority Health Month, but continuously. The work of these leaders both underscores a powerful legacy of social and political advocacy among marginalized communities and serves as a powerful reminder of how far America has to go.
NATIONAL CONFERENCES BY ORGANIZATION
African-African American Summit
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Annual Convention
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Annual Convention
Black Business Professionals & Entrepreneurs Conference
Black Data Processing Association (BDPA) Annual Convention
Black Enterprise Events
Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association Conference
Blacks In Government Conference
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Annual Convention
Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Convention
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Annual Convention
Miss Black USA Pageant
MOBE Marketing & Technology Symposiums
NAACP Annual Convention
National African-American Christian Singles' Conference
National Alliance of Market Developers
National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) Annual Convention
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention
National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women's Clubs Annual Convention
National Bar Association Annual Convention
National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Annual Convention
National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) Annual Convention
National Black Police Association (NBPA) Annual Convention
National Conference on Black Philanthropy
National Dental Association Annual Convention
National Medical Association Conference
National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Convention
National Professionals Network
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Annual Convention
National Urban League Annual Convention
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Annual Convention
Ottawa International Jazz Festival
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Annual Convention
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Annual Convention
Spirit of Sisterhood: Women's Empowerment Expo
Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC) Annual Convention
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Annual Convention