Asm Jackson Hosts State of Black IE Symposium
By Dianne Anderson
Nonprofits and businesses will brainstorm new ways to move the system, review data that can draw down more funding and resources for the community, and build political power.
Assemblymember Corey Jackson is spearheading the full breakout at the upcoming inaugural gathering of the State of Black IE Symposium with sessions on social justice, jobs, Black entrepreneurship, health and Black infant mortality, and probe of the latest reparations report.
The symposium allows partners to team up for solutions and drill down on the critical issues facing the Inland Empire Black community.
But the first step is getting at the real numbers.
“I realized there is no central event that brings Black folks together to talk about what the data says about the state of our people. I want to make sure that every year people have the most up to date information possible,” he said.
On Saturday, October 7, the free event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Moreno Valley Conference Center, featuring keynote Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah Jones of the 1619 Project. The event has filled up fast, and is now first come, first serve on a wait list.
Dr. Jackson wants the community to know they can get involved, and join like-minded organizations to empower the community.
At the event, he is excited to announce new state funding that he secured to support the Inland Empire Black Equity Initiative, which redistributes funds to Black nonprofits throughout the region to build their infrastructure.
His best excitement is to create the big picture for the issues and the data, and build synergy in the community.
“[It’s] so that we’re all moving in the same direction and everyone can fine-pick where they see their role in spending their time to address these issues,” he said. “There is enough research out there to understand best practices, but we have to be laser focused on these things. None of this is a quick fix,” he said.
Since being elected, Dr. Jackson has hit the Assembly floor running with bills against hate and bias. He authored AB 1079, which if passed, requires the Public Health Department to establish a Hate Crimes Intervention Program within the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch. It also levels the funding field, mandating that if hate crimes go up against Blacks, funding for resources and anti-hate messaging also goes up. If it decreases, it will be commensurate with the needs of the most targeted groups.
ACA7 is another bill that recently moved off the Assembly Floor on track to amend Proposition 209, the anti-affirmative action law passed during the 1990s. It now goes to the Senate side.
Jackson, who is a Christian, also authored AB 1078 to End Book Banning and Reject Extremist Agendas in California’s Education System. It passed both houses this month and set to fight Christian extremist white nationalism.
Pepi Jackson, no relation, commended Assemblymember Jackson for pulling together what should be the start of a productive meeting of the minds.
“For the first time with Corey Jackson being the first African American in District 60, the newly developed district, it will give that area a real opportunity to see progress being made for the minority community,” said Jackson, CEO and president of the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce.
It will also build coalitions cutting across the San Bernardino and Riverside County border lines. He said community efforts toward improvements should be able to flow across county lines in the spirit of collaboration.
“A lot of times, you find that we work in silos. We are each doing our small part pertaining to our organizations, separated from other similar efforts or causes where they can be combined and become more powerful in the movement,” said Assemblymember Jackson.
Whether jobs, health, housing security, education or pollution, or over-incarceration, he said the need is vast. Black people are often negatively impacted two to three times over other groups in virtually all sectors of society.
“Those are the usual suspects, we’ve been fighting this fight for a long time, but no serious conversation can go on about the state of Black America without it being referenced in comparison to where we’re at with reparations,” he said.
In 2021, AB 3121 established the Reparations Task Force to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans. He said the wealth gap, housing and all of the related issues are addressed under one umbrella through the task force.
“[Reparations passage] has to rest on our ability to get this signed in some sort of approval that can be won through the California state legislature,” he said.
Last month, the United Nations Secretary António Guterres released a report urging countries to consider financial reparations for transatlantic slavery. He is calling for international human rights law to deal with the past and rebuild a future free from systemic racism.
The report speaks to the ongoing consequences and the impact of transatlantic trade and colonialism for the estimated 25-30 million Black people who were torn from Africa. Those human rights abuses spanned 400 years, representing the most concentrated deportation worldwide of human beings.
“Africans and people of African descent continue to be victims of systemic racism and racial discrimination as a consequence of these past tragedies and crimes until present day. As recognized in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, colonialism, slavery and the slave trade are among the major sources of contemporary racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” the report said.
For information to RSVP, contact Darrell.Frye@asm.ca.gov
For the AB 3121 The California Reparations Report, see https://oag.ca.gov/ab3121/report
To learn more about the National Reparations Committee, see https://reparationscomm.org/
For the UN Report, see https://bit.ly/3t3lvY6