Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Thursday, Aug. 2 3:30 PM (Eastern)
Ends: Thursday, Aug. 2 4:45 PM (Eastern)
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 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.
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 is the Deputy Organizing Director of Local Progress, a movement of local elected officials advancing a racial and economic justice agenda through all levels of local government. She is also a Co-Founder of The Black Collective, a movement committed to promoting a shared agenda to elevate the political consciousness and amplify the economic power of Black communities.
Francesca is a political educator, legislative and policy strategist, entrepreneur and former television host committed to creating spaces to educate, inform and engage our people on the issues that are important in their daily lives; helping them to understand the personal is political and democratizing knowledge. She is the daughter of working-class Haitian immigrants raised in Miami’s Little Haiti community and mother of Joie.
For over a decade, Francesca has led coalition building, legislative, policy and advocacy campaigns with undocumented families, immigrants, refugees, students, Black and communities of color with a focus on policy-making process. In these spaces, she successfully led organizing efforts to draft, introduce and pass local, state, federal resolutions, policies and laws on the issues of education, immigration, housing, wage protections and job security. Other key issues for advocacy: preemption/state interference and local democracy/governance.
Francesca graduated from Florida International University, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women’s Studies with a minor in Philosophy and a certificate in National Security Studies and her Master’s in Public Administration, with a certificate in Community Development. Francesca is the former Treasurer for the Florida Democratic Party, former State Committeewoman for the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. She currently serves on the Miami-Dade County N.W. 79th Street Corridor Community Redevelopment Agency.