Ben Jealous Talks About the Next President and Black America - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

On Election Day, NAACP President Ben Jealous addresses voting irregularities nationwide No matter who becomes president, what’s next for black America?

Ben Jealous: The next president needs to target human-rights protection, racial profiling and make sure that the 50 million uninsured people, many of whom are black, get insurance. With the expected changes in congress, we might be able to meet some of these goals even if John McCain is president.

BE: Polls look very promising for Sen. Barack Obama. How in your opinion has he been able to come this far?

Jealous: Clearly the training that Obama got on the Southside of Chicago as a community organizer has served him well. He was able to learn to listen well, push behind his fears and he learned to fight hard.

BE: How should Black America Respond to our next president, whoever he may be?

Jealous: First thing we need to do is celebrate a day of great participation and hard work to increase voter registration and engagement. But the next thing that we have to do is plan. Plan for the next administration and push forward an agenda that deals with the top issues that face our community. We are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are suffering from housing foreclosure at the highest rate of any group in the society. We have an infant mortality rate that is way too high. We need to make sure that the next president and the next Congress address those issues head on including the discrimination in law enforcement and in lending that lie beneath many of our troubles.

BE: The NAACP brought suit against a county in Virginia that would not extend polling hours or add more voting machines. What came of that and what other voting irregularities have surfaced today?

Jealous: The court ordered them to comply. Long lines have materialized nationwide. There have been long lines in Baltimore; as long as five hours. We’ve been working in states like Ohio and Mississippi dealing with cases of intimidation. At George Mason University a flier was sent misinforming students of the election date. At South Carolina State University the County Board of Elections decided to move the polls 25 miles away from the polling place nearest to the school.

BE: I know that the NAACP has played a huge role in voter registration. How has the NAACP impacted this election?

Jealous: We’ve been organizing voter registration drives for 50 years. Some predominantly black counties this year have reached 95% voter registration. That is the result of decades of work by the NAACP.

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.