Black Europe and the Congressional Black Caucus


It’s 4am here in Downtown Washington DC. My body clock has not quite adjusted to the five hour London time difference, but that doesn’t matter. As always I’m excited to be attending the Congressional Black Caucus over the next few days with a powerful Black European delegation.

The Congressional Black Caucus - CBC- is like a political party conference, but for African Americans only bigger, much bigger, swisher, and as you’d imagine with a keen eye for business.

This is year is crucially important for two reason: the midterm elections later this year will set the political path of where America goes: the beginning of the end for President Donald Trump, or more of the same madness; secondly, the CBC will be confident to predict that if there is to be a Democratic President, it’ll be someone who will be here over the next few days. All the big money is on Senator Cory Booker.

The Black European contribution to this mega Black political gathering is not insignificant. Our delegation of nine consists of the first and only Black parliamentarian in Hungary Olivo Kocsis –Cake, the only Black Parliamentarian in Poland, Killion Munyama , the only Black female parliamentarian in Germany Aminata Toure, and our own Clive Lewis MP, OBV alumni, and the UK’s first Black policy advisor to the Prime Minister Theresa May Nero Ughwujabo. The coordination for this Black transatlantic partnership is organized by the Helsinki foundation, the EU and sponsored by Open Society Foundation.

First up this morning with the PM’s special Advisor Nero Ughwujabo. He’ll be giving his maiden speech at special recording Congress hearing, on Capitol Hill. Congressmen and women, along with a dozen or so embassies want to hear about the UK’s ground breaking Race Disparity Unit. After Rev Al Sharpton’s visit to Downing st early this year it seems that America are keen to here first hand about this leadership approach that involves BME civil society, ground breaking research and the political will to drive political policy change to close race inequality gaps.

I will hopefully contribute to that debate after Ughwujabo’s speech. I also have a session on voting rights and getting minorities to vote during the conference with my friend and hero Rev Jesse Jackson, which I’m told will be live broadcast on CBC. The schedule is back breaking; the days start with breakfast meetings with groups such as the NAACP, to evening dances at the various hotels that go on to the early hours of the morning.

Above all these events allow us to talk, share and support each other. We Black Europeans can make links, exchange programs such as the Black student exchange programme we initiated two years ago with Queen Mary University of London and the historically Black Howard University here in DC. We also help, an often insular looking US to see beyond its boundaries and see the challenge facing Black Europeans with this global shift to political Right. For example, our Black European politicians are rightly worried that when the UK leaves Europe the EU will literally lose about half its BME MEP’s. Of the 750 MEP’s who will defend the 30 million people of African descent in Europe, when political parties are specifically targeting them to win votes?

My mantra over the next few days will be to start early, finish late, and get good things done!

I’ll keep you posted.

Simon Woolley

Picture: Cory Booker and Kamala Harris

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