June 16, 2010

IBW Launches Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission
Congressional Black Caucus Members to Offer Tributes
Symposium to Focus on Black Economic State of Emergency

Press Release

The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) will launch the Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission, named in honor of Shirley Chisholm (November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) the first African American woman to be elected to Congress and first woman to seek the Democratic nomination for President.  A Ceremony honoring her legacy will be followed by a Symposium at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  Originally announced at the State of the Black World Conference in New Orleans in 2008, under the leadership of veteran social and political activist Dr. Ron Daniels, IBW has worked diligently to assemble an outstanding group of scholars, policy analysts and advocates to serve on the Commission [see list of Commission Members below].

The Commission will conduct research, consult with the Executive Branch and members of Congress, convene public forums and issue periodic Report Cards to grade presidential administrations as it relates to Black issues, and offer policy recommendations for advancing Black interests.  After months of private deliberations, the Commission elected to hold its inaugural public meeting in Washington D.C. to coincide with the commemoration of Juneteenth (the weekend of June 19th), the date in 1865 that enslaved Africans in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Inaugural meeting will include Tributes to Shirley Chisholm by Congress Members John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus; Barbara Lee, Chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus; Yvette Clarke, linear successor to Ms. Chisholm from New York´s 12th Congressional District; and Dr. Elsie Scott, President/CEO, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.

Deeply concerned about the staggering rate of unemployment/joblessness in Black communities across the country, the Tributes will be followed by a Symposium – Black America: The Economic State of EmergencyPanel OneThe Human Face of the Crisis will be moderated by Dr. Duchess Harris, Associate Professor, American Studies, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN. Presenters: Walter Fields, Executive Editor, North Star News, Newark, NJ;  Dedrick Muhammad, Senior Organizer and Research Associate, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC; and Faye Moore, President, Social Services Employees Union Local 371, New York City;  Panel TwoLegislative and Policy Solutions will be moderated by Attorney Nkechi Taifa, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Institute, Washington, DC. Presenters: Dr. Ronald Walters, Distinguished Leadership Scholar Emeritus, University of Maryland, College Park; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President of Bennett College for Women, Greensboro, NC; and Erica L. Williams, Deputy Director for Progress 2050, Center for American Progress, Washington, DC.

Richard Adams, Chairman of the Board of IBW and Convener of the Commission, noted that the Shirley Chisholm Accountability Commission was not organized to react to President Barack Obama.  “As we indicated when the idea of the Commission was announced at the State of the Black World Conference, we need a mechanism that can monitor progress on the Black Agenda, no matter who occupies the White House.  We finally have a structure that can fulfill that function in Black America.”  Dr. Ronald Walters concurs, “Contrary to all the discussion about a post-racial society, the gravity of the economic crisis in the Black community demonstrates the need to continue to advance a Black Agenda whether there is a Black President or not. Thus far the Obama administration has been reluctant to devise policies designed to ameliorate the urgent crises facing the Black community, particularly the inner-cities.”  Dr. Julianne Malveaux said, “I am delighted to be a Member of a Commission named in honor of Shirley Chisholm, the fighting Congresswoman from Brooklyn who was fearless in promoting the interests of Blacks, minorities and women.”

The proceedings of the inaugural meeting of the Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission will begin at 12:00 Noon, June 18th in Room 2237 of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

The Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission

Rick Adams-Co-convener Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly, Pittsburgh, PA and Chair of the Institute of The Black World 21st Century Board of Directors.

  • Dr. Michael Fauntroy – Assistant Professor, Public Policy, George Mason University, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Tricia-B. Bent Goodley – Professor of Social Work and Chair of the Community Administration and Policy Practice Sequence, Howard University, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Duchess Harris – Associate Professor, American Studies, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN
  • Dr. Marc Lamont Hill – Associate Professor, Education and Anthropology, Columbia University´s Teachers College, New York, NY
  • Dr. Julianne Malveaux – Pre-eminent Political Economist and President, Bennett College for Women, Greensboro, NC
  • Dr. Patricia Newton, President -Elect, Black Psychiatrists of America, Inc.
  • Makani Themba- Nixon  –  Chief  Executive Officer,  The  Praxis  Project, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika – President, African American Leadership Project, New Orleans, LA
  • Attorney Nkechi Taifa  –  Senior Policy Analyst,  Open  Society  Institute,  Washington, DC
  • Dr. Ronald Walters – Pre-eminent Political Scientist and Distinguished Leadership Scholar Emeritus, James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  • Dr. Boyce Watkins – Professor, Finance, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
  • Dr. Ron Daniels, Ex-Officio Member, Distinguished Lecturer, York College, City University, Jamaica, NY and President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century.

For further information or to arrange interviews contact:  Junette Pinkney, 202.557.4643