Harnessing the Political Power of Black Immigrants

Harnessing the Political Power of Black Immigrants

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Aug. 2 3:30 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Aug. 2 4:45 PM (Eastern)

Room: 214

Despite accounting for nearly 10 percent of the nation’s Black population, Black immigrants and refugees have yet to coalesce as a voting bloc and exercise their electoral power in the political arena. Lower levels of civic engagement lead not only to a lack of representation of Black immigrants in elected and appointed positions but also to disparate life outcomes including lower household income, higher unemployment, and disproportionate contact with criminal justice and immigration systems. This panel will explore recent electoral and organizing successes in the emerging Black immigrant community and why their latent potential to be politically powerful must be realized for the benefit of their communities and the country.


Will Jawando


Will Jawando is an attorney, activist, and community leader with an unwavering dedication to working with all communities to ensure economic prosperity and guaranteed civil rights. He has worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Sherrod Brown. During the Obama Administration, he served as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the U.S. Department of Education.

Described by revered Congressman John Lewis as “the progressive leader we need,” in 2016 Jawando was the youngest candidate in Maryland’s 8th District congressional race. A voice of authority on issues surrounding the nation’s political climate, public policy, and social justice, he has been featured in an array of national media outlets including, MSNBC, the New York Times, The Washington Post, MTV, and NY Magazine. He resides in Silver Spring, MD, with his wife and three daughters. Will is a Democratic Nominee for County Council at Large in Montgomery County, Maryland.

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Mustafa Jumale

Mustafa, founder of Khyre Solutions LLC. Khyre is a Minneapolis-based agency that provides policy, advocacy and communications services to businesses and organizations that want to change federal or state policy.He served for 3.5 as Congressman Keith Ellison’s lead aide on foreign affairs, civil rights and civil liberties, public safety, and African issues in his district office. Previously, Mustafa worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives, Wilder Foundation, and the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Mustafa advocates for progressive policy initiatives that address pressing human rights issues as well as other issues facing people of color. He’s a recipient of the 2011 Josie Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award at the University of Minnesota. Mustafa holds a degree in Sociology and African American & African Studies from University of Minnesota. Governor Mark Dayton appointed Mustafa to be a board of the State of Minnesota’s Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, which advises the Governor and the legislature on issues impacting black people. He was a 2015-2016 Humphrey Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Policy. Executive Director, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA), San Diego, CA (Invited)

Francesca Menes

Francesca Menes

Francesca Menes is the Florida State Coordinator for Local Progress, a network of hundreds of progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. She works closely with partner organizations throughout the Sunshine State to bring progressive policy solutions to our local elected officials.

Prior to joining CPD, Francesca served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and Political Director for FLIC Votes, where she led the development and implementation of strategic legislative, policy and voter engagement campaigns locally and statewide. She co-coordinated the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, which led the passage of ordinances in several counties throughout the state. She coordinated a national network campaigning for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. In 2014, she successfully led the statewide campaign “We Are Florida’s Future” to pass in-state tuition for undocumented students and led the campaign to establish the Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County, establishing a public-private partnership to promote naturalization.

For 8 years, Francesca served on the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, where she is a past 2nd Vice-Chair. She also served on the board of the Miami-Dade Young Democrats (MDYD) for 8 years, including as past Vice-President of Communications and Administration.

Currently, Francesca serves as Secretary of MDC Community Action Agency (CAA) Executive Board, appointed by past-Commission Chairman Jean Monestime, as a board member of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, Co-Chair of Governmental/International Affairs of the Haitian American Professionals Coalition (HAPC), State Committeewoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, and Treasurer of the Florida Democratic Party.

Francesca graduated from Florida International University, earning her BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies and her Master’s in Public Administration, with a certificate in Community Development. She was born and raised in Miami’s Little Haiti community.

Francesca has received numerous honors and recognitions, including being recognized as one of the Angels on Adams Street by Influence Magazine, named one of the 20 under 40 Emerging Leaders in South Florida by The Miami Herald, named one of Miami’s 40 Under 40 Young Black Leaders of Today & Tomorrow, named one of the 20 Under 40 Young Haitian-American Professionals by the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida and City of Miami Gardens Unsung Hero Award.

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