, /PRNewswire/ — Today, at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) 52nd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) National Town Hall event, entertainer and business mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs applauded the academics, legislators and activists speaking at the event for the work they were doing to safeguard Black history in order to protect future freedoms, and drive greater diversity in corporate America.
Combs, who recently launched Empower Global, an e-commerce platform for black-owned businesses, said: “My goal is to add diversity in any industry I enter. It’s not just about being in the same room, it’s about sharing power. Companies should empower their employees and partners of color. Don’t just check the box; make sure people of color have real power to make decisions and drive results, and don’t just give us the black budget. Give us real budgets so that we can win. It’s just good business.”
The National Town Hall put the theme of this year’s ALC – “Securing our Democracy. Protecting our Freedom. Uplifting our Culture.” – into practice, charting a pathway toward securing democratic institutions as states continue to pass measures that suppress African American history, such as legislation or executive orders recently passed or enacted by 18 states that prohibit the teaching of alleged “divisive concepts” about race.
These measures include Florida’s efforts in the last year to alter how Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies is taught in classes, bans on Critical Race Theory enacted in multiple states, and bills introduced in more than 30 states to restrict voting rights. To counter this, speakers offered responses that push back against the censorship, misinformation, voter suppression and other tactics that are cumulatively causing this democratic erosion.
The speakers were New York State Attorney General Letitia James; Rep. Stacey Plaskett, ALC Honorary Co-Chair; Rep. Steven Horsford, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus; Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Sean “Diddy” Combs, entertainer and entrepreneur; State Rep. Justin Jones, Tennessee State Representative; Nicole Austin-Hillery, President and CEO, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Dr. Jonathan M. Cox, Vice President, Center for Policy Analysis and Research, CBCF; Michael Eric Dyson, academic, writer, minister, and radio host; Kimberlé Crenshaw, Executive Director, African American Policy Forum; LaShawn Warren, Chief Policy Officer, Southern Poverty Law Center; LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder, Black Voters Matter Fund; and Samantha Tweedy, Chief Executive Officer, Black Economic Alliance.
Speaking ahead of the October trial of former President Donald Trump, Letitia James said, “With all the fiber, with all of your being, with all of the ancestors who flow through your DNA, we need to tell them the truth. I will be honored when I walk into that courtroom on October 2nd to hold someone responsible, to hold someone accountable. While my role is civil, I will come back before you soon with a check for $250 million, to let you know that he is no longer allowed to do business in the State of New York.”
Kimberlé Crenshaw said, “There are over 23 states that have passed bans on the way black history can be taught.” She added, “We need to understand that this is about taking away our ability to narrate our lives. It’s about taking away the ability to talk about inequality. It’s about our inability to talk about the continuing ways racism shapes every aspect of our existence. If they can take away our ability to speak about reality, how are we going to be able to transform our reality.”
Rep. Terri Sewell said, “Today, we know that old battles have become new again and our progress is under attack across the nation. Extremists are fanning the flames of racism, disinformation, and missing information. Our freedoms are erased, our culture is eroded, and our democracy is undermined. We see these new attacks every day: whitewashing our history, removing stories from our textbooks, restricting the right to vote, and the list goes on and on.” She added, “We are truly at an inflection point in American society in the face of these attacks, with Americans being called upon to speak up, stand up, and take action.”
Sen. Raphael Warnock said, “This is a moral moment in our country. We are called upon again to push the nation to center equity, all of its discussions and all of its policies, and to move forward the continuing project of democracy. Black folk have always had to play a particular kind of role in that work because we’ve been on the underside of that conversation somewhere, caught between being and becoming a democracy yet to be.”
Contact: Yolanda Raine, CBCF Vice President of Marketing and Communications
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SOURCE Congressional Black Caucus Foundation