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Beyonce donates to HBCUs while JAY-Z starts scholarship fund with his mom.
Beyonce donates to HBCUs while JAY-Z starts scholarship fund with his mom.
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April 17, 2018
Tammy Duckworth to Bring Baby to Floor, Nikki Haley Gets Trumped, and Kendrick Lamar Wins the Pulitzer
There’s a battle brewing on Capitol Hill with a crew of younger Dems aiming to topple Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) is eying the top spot, but only if Dems take back the House. Among those standing guard protecting Pelosi’s leadership? House Assistant Minority Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) who, as the highest-ranking African American in Congress, refuses to be pushed aside himself and has declared his intention to run for leadership again. Capitol Hill isn’t the only place for drama. A NY courtroom hosted quite the scene yesterday. A federal judge on Monday denied Donald Trump's and his lawyer Michael Cohen's requests to block the DOJ from reviewing the ten boxes of documents and roughly dozen electronic devices they seized during an FBI raid on Cohen's property last week, before prosecutors do. But Judge Kimba Wood didn’t say prosecutors would get the first look either. Discussions are ongoing. Though adult film actress Stormy Daniels was present, she was not headline of the day. The Perry Mason-style pearl-clutching gasp-moment came when Fox News host Sean Hannity was named as one of Michael Cohen’s clients. Hannity denied it, saying that he had never paid Cohen for his services and that their discussions were brief and centered on real estate. It’s Tax Day and to cushion the blow of the stressful deadline, retailers are offering discounts all day. You better run! Speaking of running, Latina Desiree Linden became the first American to win Boston Marathon since 1985. ¡Corra como una mujer! We’re kicking off Tuesday with this...
  • Senate is expected to change its rules soon for new mom, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). She’s also pushing to help communities struggling with the harmful impacts of stranded nuclear waste.
  • Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) crosses the aisle on new bill to help pregnant women and babies addicted to opioids.
  • UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gets Trumped on Russia sanctions.
  • Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA) new bill would help cut health disparities.
  • Hiral Tipirneni is in a dead heat in Arizona 8th special election to succeed Trent Franks.
  • NY attorney drops out of NY-2 Congressional race and will run for state Senate instead.
  • Damn! Kendrick Lamar just won a Pulitzer.
  • Education Writers Association names new Board members.
  • Meet the WaPo’s new Metro columnist.
  • Meet Harvard’s new Jazz Master.
  • Families Against Mandatory Minimums announces new Director of Federal Legislative Affairs.
  • Bey and Jay are opening their wallets for good. Beyoncé donates $100K to four HBCUs after Beychella, and JAY-Z and Gloria Carter launch a scholarship fund. Get the stories in Blogs.
  • Don’t forget to join The Beat DC’s Tiffany D. Cross as she co-hosts Keepin' It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton today at 1:20P. Tune in!
ID gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan (D) last week with a young constituent at a campaign stop in Coeur d'Alene.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) at a ceremony in DC on Thursday remembering the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with members of the King family.
Senate Set to Allow Tammy Duckworth’s Newborn on the Floor
The Senate is expected to change its rules soon for new mom Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) who made history becoming the first Senator to give birth while in office. The Senate sometimes stacks several votes in a row or gets sidelined by delays, requiring lawmakers to be on the floor for an extended period of time. “I can’t be away from a newborn infant in the first three months for that long,” Duckworth told Politico before her baby was born. Senators are required to appear in the Senate chamber in person to vote. Duckworth can’t hand off her child to a staffer, who is a federal employee, because of conflict of interest rules. She has submitted a resolution that would allow Senators to bring a child under one-year-old onto the Senate floor during votes. Senate leaders appear poised to approve the request -- a rarity to change rules in the upper chamber. But nobody puts baby in a corner. Duckworth welcomed Maile Pearl Bowlsbey on April 9th and plans to take an unofficial maternity leave. More here.
Ben Ray Luján Intros Bipartisan Bill to Help Opioid-Addicted Mothers and Babies
Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)
crossed the aisle to help pregnant women and babies addicted to opioids. He and Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, introduced the bipartisan Maternal Opioid Treatment, Health, Education and Recovery (MOTHER) Act of 2018. The bipartisan MOTHER Act aims to help healthcare providers better treat pregnant women with opioid use disorder, as well as babies who are born experiencing opioid withdrawal. The bill addresses early intervention, education, and expanded treatment options for prenatal and postpartum mothers and their babies. The legislation would strengthen the continuum of care for women and newborns from pregnancy through delivery and postpartum treatment, including counseling, referrals, and education about caring for infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. It would also provide access to resources and education for pregnant mothers and care providers and highlight the need for responsible pain management for expectant mothers. “We have an obligation to do our utmost for the most vulnerable members of our society, and making sure pregnant women struggling with substance use disorders have access to treatment and recovery programs is simply the right thing to do,” Luján said. “I am glad that we could come together on a bipartisan basis to begin tackling this problem, and make sure people get access to the services and the help they need.” More here.
Dwight Evans’ New Bill Would Help Cut Health Disparities
Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA)
has introduced the Health Communities Act of 2018, a bill which will help cut down on the amount of health disparities and ensure that research is balanced and more effective by requiring the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to base its recommendations on health disparity populations. This inclusion would ensure more accurate research, focus efforts, and improve research outcomes. “Healthcare is one of the most important issues for our country, as seen by the mass rejection of the efforts by the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Everyone has the right to a healthy life regardless of age, race, gender, or pre-existing conditions. ... I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless to ensure adequate healthcare for all,” Evans said. More here.
The Hill’s Jamal Simmons on daddy duty with his son, Truth, on Sunday.
 Obama alumnus and CA congressional candidate Sam Jammal (D) proposed to his girlfriend Jennifer Molina, Press Secretary for California AG Xavier Becerra. She said yes!
Senate Dems Block Bill to Curtail Labor Rights on Tribal Land
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a bill that would take National Labor Relations Board jurisdiction away from tribe-owned companies like casinos, voting on a razor-thin margin against the measure in a procedural vote. The 
legislation, called the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, would have exempted enterprises owned and operated by Native American tribes from federal labor standards, even for employees who were not tribal citizens. Supporters, including a coalition of business groups and Native American tribes, argued that the measure would simply restore the longstanding principle of tribal self-government and that tribes shouldn’t be treated differently from state and municipal workers, who aren’t covered by federal labor law. Opponents condemn the law for exempting Native American casinos from a federal labor law which, among other things, allows workers to unionize. A package of bills containing the measure fell five votes short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster. The House passed the measure in January. It is unclear if the Senate will try again. More here.
Duckworth Wants to Protect Communities Near Stranded Nuclear Waste
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
is not letting childbirth get in her way of pushing for change. Late last week, Duckworth and Angus King (I-ME) led a letter co-signed by nine colleagues urging Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to provide additional federal resources to help communities struggling with the harmful impacts of stranded nuclear waste. “Reactor communities nationwide have become de facto high-level radioactive waste storage sites and deserve compensation for the continued economic risks they accept for storing this hazardous substance,” the Senators wrote. “Furthermore, although we are deeply committed to ensuring a long-term solution to the nation’s nuclear waste we understand those solutions will take time. In the meantime, we believe it is critical that these communities are given resources in the immediate future that will help mitigate the ongoing negative impact nuclear waste is having on their communities.” Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) was among the lawmakers that joined Duckworth and King in the letter. See the full letter here.
Nikki Haley Gets Trumped By Trump on Russia Sanctions
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Sunday announced that the Trump administration would impose additional sanctions on Russia over its role in the Syria attacks. Not so fast, said Donald Trump, after the Kremlin called them “international economic raiding.” Trump yesterday stopped the preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia. Haley had gone on CBS News’ Face the Nation over the weekend to say that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would announce sanctions on Russian companies that equipped Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack. The debate is reportedly still ongoing in the White House. There has been no additional comment from Haley. More here.
Uber's Bozoma Saint John donning a ÖFUURË dress at Coachella over the weekend.
Congressional candidate James Courage Singer (D) with Native American activist Samantha Eldridge at the Salt Lake Democrats' Annual Politisauce Dinner and Fundraiser in Utah last week.
Kendrick Lamar Wins a Pulitzer
Damn! Kendrick Lamar just won a Pulitzer. The 11-time GRAMMY award-winning hip-hop artist became the first non-classical, non-jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for music for his 2017 album DAMN. The prize listing describes Lamar’s record, which documents the complexities of growing up in his hometown of Compton, as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African American life.” In the category of Explanatory Reporting, the Arizona Republic and USA Today Network were also awarded for their exhaustive series on Donald Trump’s proposed southern border wall. And in the category of Feature Writing, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, a freelance reporter for GQ, clinched the prize for a portrait of Charleston murderer Dylann Roof. See the full list of winners here.
Harvard names Angelique Kidjo as 2018 Jazz Master
GRAMMY Award winner Angelique Kidjo has been named the 2018 Harvard University Jazz Master. Kidjo, originally from Benin, has worked with UNICEF, the United Nations, and former First Lady Michelle Obama in supporting girls education across the globe. The singer-songwriter, actress, and activist -- noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos -- is fluent in Fon, French, Yorùbá, and English, and sings in all four languages. She also has her own personal language, which includes words that serve as song titles such as "Batonga". "Malaika" is a song sung in the Swahili language. Kidjo often utilizes Benin's traditional Zilin vocal technique and jazz vocalese. She is the recipient of the 2015 Crystal Award given by the World Economic Forum of Davos in Switzerland and has received the Ambassador Of Conscience Award from Amnesty International in 2016. She also is included in the exhibits at the National Museum of African American History. Kidjo was also part of a town hall at Harvard’s Kennedy School which focused on girls’ lives internationally called “Where the Girls Are: Arts activism around the globe.” More here.
Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA) with an employee at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Communications Dispatcher on Friday celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) hosting a young professionals happy hour in Alexandria, VA on Thursday.
New LA Times Owner Announces Changes and Pursues NYT Editor
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong
, the soon-to-be new owner of the LA Times, is planning major moves at the paper. The biotech billionaire, who is considered the richest man in Los Angeles, agreed to buy the paper from the media company Tronc for $500 million. Addressing reports that the sale had stalled, Soon-Shiong spoke to the paper’s employees for the first time on Friday and dropped this news: he is moving the newspaper from its historic Art Deco building in downtown to the suburban city of El Segundo. He also discussed hiring a top editor and stressed the importance of editorial independence and tolerance. Who topped his list? Dean Baquet -- an LA Times veteran and Executive Editor of the NYT. For now, Baquet is staying put. Soon-Shiong also pursued Marty Baron, the Executive Editor of The Washington Post and also a veteran of the LA Times. The Beat DC will keep you posted on who lands the paper’s top spot. Soon-Shion also told the paper’s top editors he planned to make DC reporting a priority and expand the paper’s foreign coverage. More here.
Theresa Vargas Transitions to Metro Beat
Theresa Vargas has been named The Washington Post's next Metro columnist. She has been with the paper since 2007, covering a range of subjects. Her award-winning work about DC victims of gun violence who must now use wheelchairs explored not just the physical and emotional toll of the injuries, but also the rising costs to taxpayers. During the 2008 recession, she and photographer Michael Williamson traveled the country on “Recession Road,” finding people deeply affected by the sagging economy. The San Antonio native and Stanford graduate went on to complete a Master's in journalism at Columbia University. Before The Post, Theresa was a reporter at Newsday, where she covered cops and schools before creating a youth beat. More here.
Education Writers Association Announces New Board Members
The Education Writers Association (EWA) has announced the appointment of three new members of the Board of Directors. Joining the Board for their first two-year terms as Directors will be Eva-Marie Ayala of the Dallas Morning News and Deborah Veney of NewSchools Venture Fund. Ayala, a University of Texas at Arlington grad, has been an education reporter with the Dallas Morning News for six years. She previously worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Veney is NewSchools’ Director of Communications. Prior to that, the Howard University grad -- who also has a Master’s from Temple University -- managed the Government Affairs and Communications function at The Education Trust.  She has also held senior communications positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Communities In Schools. EWA also added David Hoff of Hager Sharp to their Board and announced its new officers, including Francisco Vara-Orta, Data Specialist & Staff Writer, Education Week, as Vice President of Journalists. More here.
Congressman Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID) last week with Roger Christopher, Regional President of the Fleet Reserve Association, of Boise, ID.
NBC’s Kristen Welker joined MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt for Sunday’s episode of Kasie DC.
NY Attorney Switches Political Ambitions
Just weeks after announcing his bid for Congress, NY attorney Kevin Thomas has dropped out of the race to represent New York’s Second Congressional District. He is, instead, opting to pursue a seat in the state Senate in New York's 6th Legislative District. "I left the Congressional race because I can protect more New Yorkers in the state Senate and the Democratic Party has endorsed me as their nominee," Thomas said. "I will be the first Indian American to get the backing for any (New York State) office by the Democratic party," he added. The St. John’s University graduate, who went on to complete law school at Western Michigan Cooley, is also an appointee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to the New York State Advisory Committee. He leaves DuWayne Gregory and Liuba Grechen Shirley to faceoff in the June 26th primary in the Democratic effort to unseat Congressman Peter King (R-NY). More here.
FAMM Names New Director of Federal Legislative Affairs
Families Against Mandatory Minimums announced LaShunda Hill as the organization’s new Director of Federal Legislative Affairs. “I am thrilled to join FAMM, an organization that is committed to advancing sound sentencing and prison policies while raising up the voices and experiences of those most directly impacted. I look forward to the work ahead,” Hill said. She certainly has her work cut out for her. Last year, AG Jeff Sessions reversed one of the central elements of the Obama administration's criminal justice reform agenda: a Justice Department policy that led to prosecutors in drug cases often filing charges in a way that avoided triggering mandatory minimum sentences in federal law. The Tennessee native most recently led state juvenile justice reform initiatives at the Pew Charitable Trusts. She also managed sentencing reform efforts for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY), where she advocated for the abolition of juvenile life without parole and other extreme sentences for youth. During her tenure at both CFSY and Pew, Hill worked with policymakers, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, practitioners, and directly impacted communities to craft policy, build consensus, and create diverse coalitions in support of bipartisan sentencing and juvenile justice legislative reforms. The 2010 University of Tennessee graduate went on to earn her Master's in Education from Harvard in 2011 and is currently pursuing her law degree at Georgetown. Hill began her career serving her community as an in-home therapist for vulnerable youth and families involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems in her hometown of Chattanooga, TN. More here.
 Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) last week with U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft on Capitol Hill during a Sea Service Award ceremony.
 MD gubernatorial candidate Krish Vignarajah (D) and her daughter, Alana, last Tuesday at a bagel shop in Annapolis.
Will Hiral Tipirneni Take Arizona Special Election?
Hiral Tipirneni (D)
is hoping to beat the odds in a special congressional election on April 24th for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District open seat. A new poll of district voters by Emerson College shows Tipirneni leading AZ state Senator Debbie Lesko (R) by a 46-45 margin. Both candidates are looking to replace former Congressman Trent Franks, who represented the area for 15 years before resigning in December due to sexual misconduct allegations. Arizona’s conservative West Valley district is home to an older, predominantly white population -- it voted for Donald Trump by 20 percentage points in 2016. "There's a sleeping giant that's awakening in our district, and people feel like they're being talked to for the first time in a long time," Tipirneni said. And for Tipirneni, the odds of a Democratic upset are strikingly similar to newly minted Congressman Conor Lamb’s victory recent victory in southwest Pennsylvania. We’ll be watching, stay tuned. More here.
Today: The Black Mama Alliance closes out the first National Black Maternal Health Week. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, April 18th, 9A: The Congressional Black Caucus will hold a meet and greet for Lauren Underwood, Democratic candidate for Illinois 14th Congressional District. CBCPACChairman Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL)will host. CBCI Townhouse, 413 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20003. For questions or to RSVP, contact 
Wednesday, April 18th, 6P: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) 2018 Gala and Awards. Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. To purchase tickets, contact Heaven Ocampo, or 213.629.2512 ext. 143. 
Wednesday, April 18th - 19th, 2018: Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes Language Summit: Engaging Families. Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK. Click here for more information and to RSVP. 
Wednesday, April 18th - Saturday, April 21st: The National Action Network hosts its annual conference, this year commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Sheraton Times Square, NYC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, April 19th, 12P: The California Endowment hosts “Twenty Years of Life: Challenging Health Disparities and Inequities by Investing in Communities.” The Aspen Institute, 2300 N Street, NW, Suite 700. Click here to RSVP.
Thursday, April 19th, 6:30P: Cocktails & conversation with Juana Matias, Candidate for Massachusetts 3rd Congressional District. Suggested donation: Hosts Committee $250 | Supporter: $100 | Young Professional: $50. Address available upon RSVP. Email to RSVP.
Thursday, April 19th: The University of North Dakota sponsors a conference on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock protests. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, April 24th - Thursday, April 26th: The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Legislative Conference. The Willard Intercontinental Hotel, DC. Click here for more information and to register.
Wednesday, April 25th - Friday, April 27th: The African American Mayor Association 2018 Annual Conference. DoubleTree Hotel, 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA. Click here to purchase tickets. 
Wednesday, May 2nd, 6P: The Latino Victory Fund hosts Latino Talks 2018, on how Latinos are changing America. Special guests include former Univisión anchor María Elena Salinas. Click here to purchase tickets.
Friday, May 4th, 5P: Please join the Friends of the American Latino Museum and LatinVIP to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the American Latino Museum Commission report and Cinco de Mayo. Los Gallos Negros perform. VIP admission and specials with donations of $50 and more. Decades DC, 1219 Connecticut Ave NW. RSVP here
Friday, May 11th, 9A: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights holds a public briefing on hate crimes and bias-related incidents. The Commission will examine best practices for local law enforcement on collecting and reporting data, and the role of the Education and Justice Departments in prevention and prosecution. USCCR, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 1150. RSVP to Click here to watch a livestream of the briefing.
Monday, May 21st - Tuesday, May 22nd: Common Cause Pennsylvania will host their Democracy Works Summit. Sheraton Downtown Hotel on 201 N. 17th Street in Philadelphia, PA. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, June 6th - Saturday, June 9th: The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit. Charlotte, NC. More than 1,000 CEOs, investors, and business experts are expected to attend. Click here for more information and to register.
Sunday, June 10th - Tuesday, June 12th: The ACLU Membership Conference. Speakers include Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse CullorsCongressman John Lewis (D-GA), and founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL Bryan Stevenson. Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW) and Marriott Marquis Washington D.C. (901 Massachusetts Avenue NW). Click here for more information
Thursday, June 21st - Sunday, June 24th: The Black Millennial Political Convention, which aims to increase engagement of Black millennials in the political sphere and shed a light on policy issues impacting black communities. This year’s theme is The Advocacy of Policy, Pipeline and Power for the People. Hyatt Regency, Crystal City, VA. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Saturday, July 7th - Tuesday, July 10th: The 2018 UnidosUS annual conference, Marriott Marquis Hotel, DC. Click here for more information and to register.
Tuesday, July 17th - Wednesday, July 18th: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 2018 National Women’s Conference. Phoenix. Click here for more information and to register.
Wednesday, August 1st - Saturday, August 4th: The National Urban League 2018 Annual Conference “Save Our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution.” Columbus, OH. Click here for more information and to register.
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