Tag: National Urban League

Dana Gresham Named Chief of Staff for Newly-Sworn in U.S. Senator Doug Jones

PHOTO: Dana Gresham was named on Jan. 2, 2017 by Sen.-elect Doug Jones, D-Ala., as his chief of staff.
Dana Gresham was named on Jan. 2, 2017 by Sen.-elect Doug Jones, D-Ala., as his chief of staff. (via abcnews.com)

by David Caplan via abcnews.com

Senator-elect Doug Jones, the Democrat from Alabama who beat Republican Roy Moore in last month’s special Senate election, has tapped former Department of Transportation staffer Dana Gresham as his chief of staff, making him the only African-American chief of staff for a Senate Democrat.

“I would like to welcome Alabama native & former Asst. Secretary for Governmental Affairs at @USDOT Dana Gresham, who will be joining our team as Chief of Staff,” Jones tweeted Tuesday.

Prior to working at the Department of Transportation under President Barack Obama, Gresham worked for Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Ala., and Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala.  The appointment follows pressure from several organizations representing various communities of color that asked Jones last month to hire at least one minority to a senior-level position.

Two Republican senators, though, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Jerry Moran of Kansas, reportedly have black chiefs of staff.

Seventeen organizations, including the NAACP, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the National Urban League, wrote a letter to Jones in December suggesting he hire a person of color in light of the lack of diversity among Senate staff. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies organized the effort and drafted the letter.

“As a new Member of the U.S. Senate, you have an opportunity to show your constituents that not only do their voices matter, but that their experiences and skills are vital to the work that you do to represent them,” the groups wrote in the Dec. 19 letter to Jones. “Ensuring racial diversity among your staff would enhance the deliberation, innovation, legitimacy, and outcomes of your office and of the Senate as a whole. Hiring at least one person of color to your senior staff in Washington would speak loudly, and we ask that you do so among the qualified applicants that you will receive.”

News of Gresham’s hire was applauded across the Twittersphere.

“Great News! Birmingham’s own stand out Dana Gresham chosen to be Chief of Staff to Alabama’s Senator Doug Jones!” tweeted Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala. “Looking forward to working with them to move Alabama forward!! @GDouglasJones.”

Amanda Brown Lierman, political and organizing director for the Democratic National Committee tweeted, “Snaps for @GDouglasJones naming Dana Gresham as his Chief of Staff! #DougJones will be the ONLY #Senate #Democrat to have a black COS.”

And Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity tweeted, “Congratulations to Brother Dana Gresham [Mu Lambda ’97] for being appointed as Chief of Staff for Alabama Senator-elect, Doug Jones, who will be the only member of the Democratic caucus to have a Black/African-American chief of staff.”

To see original post, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/doug-jones-hires-senate-democrats-african-american-chief/story?id=52109446

Small Business Saturday: Shop Small and Make a Big Impact on Black Small Businesses This Holiday Weekend

Zuli and her mom, Olga, co-founder of Flecks Coffee Company
Zuli Turner and her mom, Olga Turner, co-founder of Flecks Coffee Company.

Just like that, the holiday shopping season has arrived — quicker than you could ask for more turkey. While megastores and online retailers are serving up another year of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, mom-and-pop shops are strategizing to get black consumers off the couch over the weekend. Sandwiched in between those two shopping days is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.

Now in its fourth year, Small Business Saturday (founded by American Express in 2010) has aggressively recruited and engaged black entrepreneurs to participate in the annual event in order to benefit from the holiday season sales spike.  It is also an opportunity for black consumers to shop smart — not only in terms of savings, but also in a way that is community-based and socially conscious.

Why black small businesses matter

“Small businesses really keep our communities grounded,” says Zuli Turner, co-founder of the Chicago-based Flecks Coffee Company. “You know your money is going to hire people that work in the neighborhood and be recycled many times over. We even buy our produce and flowers locally.” Flecks Coffee is one of the many small, black-owned businesses hoping to gain big by a program that encourages customers to shop small.

Black buying power is anticipated to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. Recognizing this influence on businesses and communities, American Express has teamed up with organizations like the National Urban League and the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce to create a “Neighborhood Champions” program that has organized Small Business Saturday events throughout the country. To date over 1,000 Neighborhood Champions have signed up to rally businesses in their municipalities to partake in local activities leading up to and on the day.

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Whitney Young Documentary On PBS Tells Story Of Unsung Civil Rights Leader

 Whitney Young Documentary

WASHINGTON — Just before the March on Washington in 1963, President John F. Kennedy summoned six top civil rights leaders to the White House to talk about his fears that civil rights legislation he was moving through Congress might be undermined if the march turned violent.

Whitney Young Jr. cut through the president’s uncertainty with three questions: “President Kennedy, which side are you on? Are you on the side of George Wallace of Alabama? Or are you on the side of justice?”  One of those leaders, John Lewis, later a longtime congressman from Georgia, tells the story of Young’s boldness in “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” a documentary airing during Black History Month on the PBS series “Independent Lens” and shown in some community theaters.

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