Congressional Black Caucus Institute Celebrates 75 Years of African Americans’ Contributions to the United Nations

Washington, DC  — On Thursday, September 24, 2020, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (“CBCI”) hosted a virtual celebration honoring the contributions of African Americans who have advanced the United Nations’ mission to maintain international peace, security, and prosperity over the last 75 years. African American pioneers in international advocacy and diplomacy such as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Ralph Bunche, and W.E.B. Du Bois were instrumental voices at the founding of the United Nations in 1945.

“Now, more than ever, the challenges facing African Americans are interconnected with those facing the global African diaspora, which means we must advocate for change internationally,” said Vanessa Griddine-Jones, CBCI Executive Director and moderator of the virtual celebration. “The CBCI celebrates the founding role that our African American leaders played at the UN 75 years ago and we are excited to use our platform within UN ECOSOC to continue their great and inspiring work.

In 2017, the CBCI was granted consultative status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC), the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system. Through this international platform, the CBCI seeks to bring global awareness and support for actions to combat the many challenges facing the African diaspora in the United States.

The CBCI’s virtual celebration brought together some of the most committed voices of our time on the importance of international diplomacy, the challenges facing the global African diaspora, and the transborder emergencies of climate change and systemic racism, including: CBCI Board Chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (MS); Congressional Representative to the UN, Rep. Barbara Lee (CA); President of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson; Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women, Janice L. Mathis; former US Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young; and actor and UN Goodwill Ambassador, Danny Glover. 

After its founding, African American leaders such as former US Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice; US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice and US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, Carol Moseley Braun, continued their predecessors’ unbroken leadership at the United Nations. The CBCI also recognizes the thousands of African American ambassadors, foreign service officers, and diplomatic support staff whose names are not well-known, but whose contributions have changed our world for the better.  
For additional information about the CBCI please visit https://www.cbcinstitute.org
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