CBCF Conference: Day 1 – Diversity in Tech and Black Female Voting Power

Hot topics from the 45th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference

Political strategist Donna Brazile spoke about the voting power of black women in one of the day's sessions.

By Lauren Victoria Burke

The first day of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) 45th Annual Legislative Conference, popularly known as “CBC Week,” started with two discussions critical to sustaining power in the black community. Those issues were: Diversity in the tech sector and the voting power of black women.

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A panel discussion on the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley was hosted by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and included Rev. Jesse Jackson.  The issue has been worked on extensively by Black Caucus Chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who traveled to Silicon Valley last month with other Black Caucus members to connect with tech companies on how they could improve their hiring. “I believe over the next five years we will see a shift. Our challenge is to ensure our young boys and girls get into STEM education,” Butterfield said in a recent interview.

Rev. Jackson, who compelled tech companies such as Apple, Twitter and Microsoft to release numbers revealing the diversity—or lack thereof—of their workforce this year, spoke on black entrepreneurship and expanding opportunities during the discussion as the CBCF ALC kicked off its first day.

During a standing-room-only policy discussion hosted by the Black Women’s Roundtable, a new report was released on black women voters.  Black women voted at a higher percentage than any other group of voters over the last two presidential elections.  The new report, titled “The Power of the Sister Vote” revealed that 76% of black women in America are registered to vote.

Legendary political strategist Donna Brazile spoke first at the session of black women leaders, asserting that, “Black women voters are the most potent political group in American politics. It’s not about our size, it’s about our participation.”

For the next three days, the in-depth discussions on issues disproportionately impacting black communities will continue. This year’s CBCF legislative conference is themed around justice reform issues but includes discussions on education, justice reform and economic opportunity.


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  • Thomas Major

    On the discussion on Voting. In Detroit there is Voter Initiative waiting for final approval and implementation before the Detroit City Council. This initiative is the result a fraudulent election uncovered during the recount of the 2013 mayoral election. During the recount the Detroit Branch NAACP under the control of Rev. Wendell Anthony and branch attorney Butch Hollowell supported “suppressing” evidence of ballot box fraudulent before the Wayne County Board of Canvasser (WCBC). The WCBC under the direction of chairperson Carol Larkin refuses to hear witnesses or investigate noted evidence of fraud after hearing attorneys representing candidate Mike Duggan to suppress noted evidence. One of the attorney’s advocating on behalf of Mike Duggan, and continues to today in that capacity, is Detroit Branch NAACP attorney Butch Hollowell. The evidence uncovered during the recount were fraudulent ballots, write-in ballots, with identical writings with the same name. The name Mike Duggan.

    The Detroit community firmly believes based on the events and actions during the 2013 mayoral election and recount, the Detroit Branch NAACP supported election fraud during the 2013 mayoral election. This evidence compelled the community to organize in mass through the efforts of community volunteers organized by Citizen’s for Detroit’s Future (CFDF) to protect all future elections using the Detroit City Charter passing the Voter Initiative which will require the immediate posting of election results at each polling area on election day. I the past, the Detroit City Clerk used unauthorized “secret transfer stations” where ballots were taken out of view from personnel authorized to handle ballots. The Michigan Attorney General announce that the secret transfer stations are not legal under Michigan election law.

    In closing, the Detroit Branch NAACP never spoke out against the secret transfers station, or supported transparency in our election process, nor did the branch support the voter initiative which is address having transparency. Detroiters are seeking new leadership to replace the current and ineffective leadership at the Detroit Branch NAACP.