What to expect from this year’s Congressional Black Caucus ALC week

The 52nd Annual Legislative Conference will highlight the most pressing issues impacting Black America.

Diversity, equity and inclusion in a post-affirmative action America will be high on the agenda for the Congressional Black Caucus’ 52nd Annual Legislative Conference week, which kicks off on Sept. 20.

The 58-member caucus of Black members of Congress is expected to sound the alarm on the need to hold corporate America accountable after the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer that virtually ended affirmative action in college admissions.

UNITED STATES – MAY 9: Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, conducts a news conference following the CBC’s National Summit on Democracy & Race near Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The high court ruling is already changing U.S. education and is expected to spill over in corporate America, where only 3.2% of executives and senior manager-level employees are Black. Various DEI organizations and federal agencies, like the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Education, agreed that many corporations are misinterpreting the Supreme Court’s decision.

The CBC will emphasize that point at this year’s conference with an explainer that reminds the public and corporations that the Supreme Court decision was about private institutions and not corporate America.

One of the sessions will draw a direct line from that Supreme Court decision to the “sustaining” of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The “Brain Trust” forum will be hosted by Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina, who told theGrio that part of the session’s focus will be on keeping HBCUs safe, particularly after the deadly mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida last month. Over the years, Adams has been unyielding in her work to address the needs and herald the excellence of the nation’s HBCUs.

Rep. Cori Bush, who spoke to theGrio during Vice President Kamala Harris’ 50th Hip-Hop Celebration on Saturday, said that her issue of focus for CBC Week legislative week will be the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment would grant equal legal rights to all American citizens regardless of sex. However, in order to ratify the amendment in the U.S. Constitution, it would need a two-thirds vote in Congress. Most Republicans are voting no on the gender equality effort. 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 31: Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks during a news conference to announce a joint resolution to affirm the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment on Capitol Hill on January 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Equal Rights Amendment is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution meant to guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex or gender. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In addition to diving into the topic of affirmative action, Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia will tackle education for K-12, higher education, and workforce development. Stressing the complexity of the topics, the congressman acknowledged with theGrio, “We only have a short period of time to get it all in.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader, told theGrio he will support all of the congressional leaders and their sessions. As the party’s head in the U.S. House, Jeffries is not hosting his own session this year as in years past. 

The conclusion of the Congressional Black Caucus’ “Summer of Action” will also be a focus of the week-long conference that moved around the country through town halls. The caucus will highlight the results of the civic and legislative engagement tour intended to mobilize citizens ahead of the 2024 elections amid growing concerns about race in America.

In recent years, Black communities have been plagued by bans on books by Black authors and other types of censorship, including actions taken by Republican leaders like banning AP African-American study courses in the states of Florida and Arkansas.

CBC week will end with the annual Phoenix Awards dinner. In the past couple of years, former CBC member Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the crowd and introduced President Joe Biden. There is no official word yet on the pair making an appearance at the event on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Boston, MA – July 29: Vice President Kamala Harris made a surprise visit to Roxbury Community College where Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Chairman Steven Horsford, along with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, held a community town hall with civic leaders and advocacy groups. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

However, it is confirmed that Karine Jean-Pierre will be honored by the CBC for her historic role as the first Black White House press secretary. 

The dinner will also come with entertainment from the legendary New Edition. The R&B group was selected to perform not just because of their four-decade-long musical careers but also because of the various projects they work on outside of music that benefit Black communities.

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