The First Black Speaker in Congress? And still no diversity in Hollywood.
The First Black Speaker in Congress? And still no diversity in Hollywood.
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August 01, 2018
Kamala Harris Wants LGBTQ Info in Census, Jim Acosta Harassed in FL, and Ajit Pai Names New Advisory Committee
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HARD-KNOCK LIFESome 650 children are still in shelters or foster care while parents were in immigration detention facilities as of Monday. TOLD YOU SOA Health and Human Services official said Tuesday he warned, for months, about the potential for harm to migrant children if they were separated from their parents, before the administration launched its "zero tolerance" border policy earlier this year. BIPARTISAN FIXES… Senators are outlining a potential pathway for legislation which would allow families to be detained together as their cases get worked through the legal system and authorize more immigration judges and prioritize the adjudication of the cases. THE BLUEPRINT… Senate Dems introduced legislation on Tuesday to prohibit blueprints for 3D printed guns from being posted online, while a federal judge temporarily blocked the blueprints from being made available -- but not before thousands of people had already downloaded them. UPWARDLY MOBILE HILL CLIMBERS… Some observers warn that much of the work done on Capitol Hill -- including policymaking -- is carried out by inexpert staffers who view time on the Hill as a stepping stone to more lucrative, private-sector jobs. They often leave their posts quickly looking to leverage their newly made connections. On average, 18.5% of House staffers vacate their office in a given year. WELCOME TO WHOLE FOODS. ID PLEASE... While telling his supporters why he wanted Americans to be required to show ID before casting votes, the president falsely claimed you have to show ID to buy groceries. The audience of working-class voters, who frequently say that the billionaire president speaks for them, didn’t seem to question the assertion. THE CHIEF STAYSWhite House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he had accepted Trump’s request to stay in his job through the 2020 election in an attempt to ease rumors of tensions between the two. TWO-FACEDFacebook said on Tuesday that it had identified a political influence campaign that was potentially built to disrupt the midterm elections, with the company detecting and removing 32 pages and fake accounts that had engaged in activity around divisive social issues. LETS US PRAYAG Jeff Sessions said on Monday that American culture has become less hospitable to people of color faith. He announced the creation of a "religious liberty task force" to implement Justice Department guidance on respecting and accommodating religious beliefs (likely referring to Christians). BIG APPLE BONGThe New York District Attorney’s office on Tuesday unveiled a new policy ending almost all prosecution of marijuana possession and smoking. Let’s roll. We’re kicking off your Wednesday with this…
  • Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) wants a clearinghouse for all prescription drugs.
  • Senators intro bill to create an advisory board for Native American vets.
  • Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) intros bill to increase access to more affordable housing.
  • Microsoft names new Public Policy Director -- meet her below!
  • FL gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum calls for a state of emergency in FL over 'stand your ground' law.
Blavity Editor-In-Chief Lilly Workneh with lawyer Yodit Tewolde on Monday in LA.
NY congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) campaigning for MI gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed in Michigan over the weekend.
First Black Speaker of the House?
In Congress’ 230 year history, there has never been a Black Speaker of the House. Nor has any African American lawmaker ever run a party Caucus in either chamber or risen higher than Majority Whip, the No. 3 post, in the House leadership. Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said she will run again should Dems prevail in midterms, but some are hoping for new leadership. And with Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) -- who was widely thought to be her successor -- losing his primary to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Politico speculates that one of the 48 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) could assume the top leadership position after November elections. Their shortlist includes Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC), CBC Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH). The CBC hierarchy follows seniority which would put Clyburn in the lead. However, Jeffries is considered a favorite by some inside and outside the caucus. While no member of the CBC is currently campaigning for the top spot, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has made clear he would vie for the position if Pelosi can’t reach 218 votes. More from Politico here.
Kamala Harris Wants 2030 Census to Collect Additional LGBTQ Data
Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA)
and Tom Carper (D-DE) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would expand the Census’ dataset further to include LGBTQ people who are not in relationships, as well as people whose gender identities do not align with the sex assigned to them at birth. If passed, the Census Equality Act would require that questions on sexual orientation and gender identity be added to the Census by 2030 and to the American Community Survey by 2020. The Senators say the information this bill would help collect could help more LGBTQ people get access to Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers, and food aid through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. They also say that more comprehensive data about the LGBTQ community would also help better enforce civil rights protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and prove those cases in court. "The spirit of the census is that no one should go uncounted and no one should be invisible," Harris said. "We must expand data collections efforts to ensure the LQBTQ community is not only seen, but fully accounted for in terms of government resources provided." The Census Bureau announced in March of this year that the 2020 Census will ask about same-sex relationships for the first time in its history. More here.

Hank Johnson Intros Bills to Protect Consumers’ Data Collected on Mobile Devices 
The mobile economy is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and big data is commonly referred to as the new oil. With this rampant change come novel and unique challenges. Mobile apps collect highly personal information like contact lists, photos, texts, location, and calendar items. These apps often access data like messages or contacts without consumer permission. Aiming to increase consumer privacy on mobile devices, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) has introduced two bills: the Application Privacy, Protection and Security (APPS) Act -- a bill to increase consumer privacy on mobile devices and the DATA Act -- a bill that makes it easier for consumers to correct and opt out of big data collection and use. Johnson says the APPS Act will boost consumer privacy on mobile devices by requiring app developers to maintain privacy policies, obtain consent from consumers before collecting data, and securely maintain the data that they collect. The DATA Act addresses critics who have raised concerns that data collection may harm low-income and underserved communities, particularly minorities. Johnson says it is critical that consumers, particularly low-income and minority populations, have access to the troves of data collected about them, the ability to correct false information, and the right opt-out of data collection for marketing purposes. Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramírez echoed these concerns saying that “the same analytic power that makes it easier to predict the outbreak of a virus, identify who is likely to suffer a heart attack, or improve the delivery of social services, also has the capacity to reinforce disadvantages faced by low-income and underserved communities,” including price and customer service discrimination. More on the two bills here.



Hamilton playwright and activist Lin-Manuel Miranda on Monday greeting a fan, Gigi, at his musical, In The Heights, in NYC.
Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in NJ last week.
Doris Matsui Wants a Clearinghouse for Prescription Drugs 
Currently, no law enforcement agency or private party has the ability to provide real-time, nationwide oversight of all orders for controlled substances, which is a major contributing factor to disproportionate prescription opioid shipments to certain pharmacies across the country. So, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) has introduced legislation she hopes will help address the issue. She is joined by Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) in introducing the DEA Clearinghouse Act, and Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
The lawmakers say this bill eliminates a blind spot exploited by bad actors, as well as guards against prescription drug diversion. It also would protect the integrity of the supply chain by requiring DEA to establish a national clearinghouse for all orders of controlled substances and require that all controlled substance orders pass through an automated database to identify suspicious orders and notify suppliers before the orders are filled. “We need to use every tool available to ensure prescription opioids are going to those who need them, and not to those who don’t,” said Matsui. “This legislation would consolidate data from opioid manufacturers and distributors to ensure that they and the DEA have real-time systems in place to flag and stop suspicious activity.” More here.
Jim Clyburn Intros Bill to Increase Access to Affordable Housing
Assistant Democratic Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) on Thursday introduced legislation to increase access to affordable housing for low- and mid-income families. If passed, the Restoring Tax Credits for Affordable Housing Act would restore the 235,000 affordable housing units projected to be lost over the next ten years due to Republican tax reform, and dramatically improve access to affordable housing across all income groups. Specifically, it would increase the per-capita low-income housing tax credit allocation from $2.70 to $2.90, and the small-state minimum low-income housing tax credit allocation from $3.1 million to $3.365 million. “With evictions happening at a rate four times higher than the national average, steady foreclosures, insufficient affordable housing options and wages that have not kept pace with living expenses, far too many South Carolinians are struggling to make ends meet,” Clyburn said. “Home ownership and safe and secure housing are central to stabilizing and maintaining healthy communities and building family wealth.  I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will join me in addressing America’s affordable housing crisis head on.” More here.

Bill Proposes Advisory Committee for Native American Vets
Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) have introduced legislation to establish an Advisory Committee to facilitate communication and understanding between the Department of Veterans Affairs and tribal governments. The bipartisan bill, which proposes establishing a VA Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs, was introduced last week. If established, the Committee would help address barriers Native American veterans face when accessing VA outreach, healthcare, and other benefits. The Advisory Committee would consist of 15 members, each representing the 12 regions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, including three at-large members and up to four veterans. Committee members would meet with the VA Secretary to provide guidance on affairs and report recommendations to Congress for legislation to improve access to healthcare and benefits for Native American veterans. "This bill is a step forward for tribes to have a larger voice in advising the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help our Native American veterans," tribal President Russell Begaye said. “Veterans hold a place of honor in Native communities,” said Jefferson Keel, NCAI President and retired Army Officer. “Too often our Native Veterans do not benefit from the programs and resources they earned through their service to this country. The Department of Veterans Affairs Tribal Advisory Committee Act would ensure federal policy makers are considering and working to address the unique challenges that make accessing programs difficult for Veterans in our communities.”  More here.
Press Assistant (Boston, MA)
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2018 re-election campaign seeks a dynamic and self-motivated Press Assistant to join the press team. The campaign is looking for an individual with strong research, verbal, and written communication skills. Someone who is organized, proactive, and calm under pressure with a high level of attention to detail. Click here to learn more.
Wirecutter’s Editor-In-Chief Steps Down
Jacqui Cheng
is stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of the Wirecutter, a product review website owned by The New York Times Company. Cheng will take an advisory role starting in September. Cheng has spent more than a decade writing about Apple, Apple culture, gadgets, social networking, privacy, and more. She was formerly a Senior Editor at Condé Nast and an Editor At Large for Ars Technica. The 2004 Purdue University grad worked as a developer for several years before shifting her focus to writing. David Perpich, GM of the Wirecutter, said the site will be opening the top job to internal and external candidates. More here.

NAHJ Elects New President
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) elected Hugo Balta of ABC and ESPN as their new President. He is the first NAHJ leader to serve in the role twice. Balta was President from 2012 to 2014, and ran unopposed this year in a low-turnout election. NAHJ leaders said attendance at their Miami convention last month reached 1,372, that more than 130 hands-on workshops were offered, and that the association took in $1 million in revenue. Balta is currently Senior Director of Multicultural Initiatives for ESPN. The 1992 Seton Hall University graduate has previously served as a Managing Editor for WCBS in New York, a Senior Producer at MSNBC, and VP of News for Telemundo. The bilingual media leader, who is fluent in English and Spanish, was also inducted into the NAHJ Hall of Fame and has been recognized as “One of the Most Influential Hispanics In Sports” by Sports Illustrated. The New Jersey native is based in Connecticut. NAHJ also retained current Executive Director Alberto Mendoza for another two years. More about Balta here.

Jim Acosta Harrassed by Trump Family and MAGA Crowd 
CNN’s Jim Acosta shared a video of Trump supporters berating him, and news media in general, at a rally in Florida. “Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy.” The president’s son, Eric Trump, tweeted the video with the caption "WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally," and added "#Truth @Acosta." Then the President of the United States retweeted his son's tweet backing supporters chanting "CNN sucks," echoing his own attacks on the free press that he has hurled since the campaign trail. More here.
Diversity in Hollywood Stagnant
According to a new report released Tuesday, Hollywood has not made progress on diversity in more than a decade. Researchers from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative examined 48,757 characters in 1,100 films released between 2007 to 2017 for their report. They found that the movie industry is still overly white and male both on- and off-screen. There was no statistically significant change in the percentage of non-white characters over time -- white actors were cast in 70.7% of all speaking roles. Of characters with an ascertainable race/ethnicity, 12.1% were Black; 6.2% Hispanic/Latino; 4.8% Asian; 1.7% Middle Eastern; <1% American Indian/Alaskan Native; <1% Native Hawaiian; and 3.9% Mixed Race or Other. Overall, 29.3% of all speaking characters were from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group. Women of color were fully left out of some films: 43 films were missing Black female characters, 64 did not include any Latinas, and 65 did not include one Asian female speaking character. In contrast, only 7 films were missing white females. Of note: the percentage of Black characters in 2017 films increased by 41.8 percentage points when a Black director was behind the camera. The report recommends A-list actors include inclusion riders in their contracts, or provisions to hire underrepresented people for both on- and off-screen positions on their projects. The researchers also suggested film companies set specific inclusion goals and that local governments look into providing tax incentives for diversity. More here.

Comedian and DC statehood activist Dave Chappelle, Charlie Hustle’s Katie Martincich, and singer John Mayer at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal over the weekend.
Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) hugging her son Liem and dog Carmela last week on the Hill.
Microsoft Names Director of Public Policy
Microsoft has promoted Portia Wu to Managing Director of U.S. Public Policy. Since June 2017, she had been the company's Director of Workforce Policy. Wu has spent her career developing and implementing labor policy and developing expertise in key policy levers including legislation, regulation, executive action, and budget development. An alumna of President Barack Obama's administration, Wu previously served as a Special Assistant to the President for Labor and Workforce Policy in the White House Office of Domestic Policy Council and then moved to the Department of Labor, where she served as Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration. Before her time in the Obama administration, the 48-year-old served as VP of the National Partnership for Women and Families, an organization that promotes health care, reproductive rights, workplace fairness, and workplace policies such as paid sick days and paid family leave. She took that job after working in the office of former Senator Ted Kennedy as his General Counsel and Labor Policy Advisor. The 1991 Yale graduate went on to earn her Master’s at Cornell in 1993 before returning to Yale to complete law school in 1998. In her new role, the NY native will report to Fred Humphries, Microsoft's Corporate VP of U.S. Government Affairs. More about her here.

Ajit Pai Announces New Chair and Vice Chair of FCC Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made three appointments to the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE). Pai has appointed current Committee Vice Chair Diane Sutter, President of ShootingStar Broadcasting, to serve as the new Chair of the ACDDE. Sutter, who is white, replaces Julia Johnson, President of NetCommunications, who is Black and has resigned from the ACDDE. Pai also appointed Anna Gómez, Partner at Wiley Rein LLP, as Vice Chair. Gómez previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce under then-President Barack Obama. The Penn State graduate, who has her law degree from The George Washington School of Law, previously worked at Sprint Nextel as VP of Government Affairs, the FCC under both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and also served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Clinton’s National Economic Council. “Anna will bring a fresh perspective and a ‘can-do’ attitude to the challenging issues we are committed to addressing with this advisory committee,” Pai said. He also appointed U.S. Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) President and CEO Susan Au Allen to an open seat on the task force. Au Allen came to the U.S. from Hong Kong upon an invitation from the White House in 1970. Before joining USPAACC, she practiced law at Paul Shearman Allen & Associates of DC and Hong Kong for 18 years, and is nationally recognized for her work on immigration, international trade, and investment. Au Allen received her J.D. from the Antioch School of Law and an LL.M. in International Law from Georgetown University Law Center. More here.

Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA) introducing a bill to address the NRA’s link to Russian election interference, last week in DC.
CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe wrapping up a segment about voters with differing views on the election, last month.  
New Ad Featuring Rita Moreno Targets Displaced Puerto Ricans in FL and PA
A new Democratic-aligned initiative from People For the American Way (PFAW) is targeting Puerto Rican voters displaced by Hurricane Maria. The organization’s Latinos Vote! campaign on Tuesday announced that it would launch a television ad urging voters to turn out for the 2018 midterm elections. The ad, which features acclaimed actress Rita Moreno (one of twelve people in history to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), will air on Spanish-language stations in Orlando, and target English- and Spanish-speaking voters elsewhere in Florida and Pennsylvania -- thousands of potential voters have settled in these key swing states. The ad contrasts the devastating impact Hurricane Maria had on Puerto Rico with images of Donald Trump disrespectfully tossing paper towels to a crowd. “Puerto Ricans who moved to the mainland and are residents can register to vote today. They have the power to make a huge impact in the 2018 election cycle. That’s why we’re putting a special focus on reaching out to Puerto Ricans, especially in swing states, to make sure they understand that they can stand up for themselves against the hate and disrespect of Donald Trump and his allies,” said PFAW Political Director Lizet Ocampo. Moreno added that: “We need to send a message to our leaders that we deserve respect. Listen, did you know that if you’ve moved to the United States and are a resident, you can vote this November? Believe it. This election is in your hands. We can do this. Register to vote. Let’s make a hurricane of change at the ballot box.” More here.

FL Gubernatorial Candidate Calls for State of Emergency Over 'Stand Your Ground' Law
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum called for a state of emergency in Florida and suspension of the state’s 'stand your ground' law until the legislature provides clear guidelines on how and when the controversial measure should be applied. Gillum, who could be the battleground state’s first Black Governor, made the appeal just days after the most recent deadly use of the law saw Markeis McGlockton, a 28-year-old Black man shot and killed several days ago in an altercation over a parking space. The 47-year-old shooter, who is white, will not face charges due to the state’s 'stand your ground' law. The powerful state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, as well as Republican legislators who helped write the law, have even been critical of the decision not to press charges. They disputed the sheriff’s interpretation and implied that perhaps the gunman should have been arrested. “The consequence of confusion over how ‘Stand Your Ground’ is applied in this state can result in the loss of life of otherwise innocent people,” Gillum said at a press conference. “It is, in fact, an emergency in the state of Florida when parents have to be concerned about their children or themselves being gunned down under the color of the law of ‘stand your ground.’” Gillum’s call comes on the heels of lawmakers pressing the Department of Justice to look into the matter. More here.
BLAH BLAH BLOGS
FOMO
Today - Saturday, August 4th: The National Urban League's 2018 Annual Conference “Save Our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution.” Columbus, OH. Click here for more information and to register.
Today - Sunday, August 5th: NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair. Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit, MI. Click here for more information
Thursday, August 2nd, 6:45P: The Mexican Cultural Institute's La Música de México series presents a recital titled 'Mexico's nueva canción' with Mexican composer Alfredo Sánchez. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
Friday, August 3rd, 5P: Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) will lead a conversation with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on politics and the issues that both members are battling on Capitol Hill. Dillard University Georges Auditorium, 2601 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA. Click here for more information.
Monday, August 6th - Saturday, August 11th: 16th Annual Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, August 8th - Saturday, August, 11th: AAJA National Convention. Marriott Marquis Houston. 1777 Walker St., Houston, TX. Click here for more information.
Friday, August 17th - Sunday, August 19th: Martha’s Vineyard celebrates Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) 20 years of service. Special guests include House Assistant Minority Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and more. Harbor View Hotel, 131 North Water Street Edgartown, MA. Kelley House, 23 Kelley Street Edgartown, MA. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, September 11th - Wednesday, September 12th: CHCI's Annual Leadership Conference. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 12th - Saturday, September 16th: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 48th Annual Legislative Conference. Walter E. Washington Convention CenterClick here for more information.
Thursday, September 13th: CHCI's 41st Annual Anniversary Awards Gala. Marriott Marquis Washington, DC. 901 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, September 25th - Saturday, September 29th: NBMBAA 40th Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
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