Exclusive: Jamaal Bowman’s movement to build Black male power
The two-term progressive congressman reveals details to Supercreator Daily on the DNC-backed roundtable he’ll host with the coalition he thinks can make or break 2024 elections up and down the ballot.
With Democrats looking to flip five House seats to reclaim the majority, defend a tough Senate map with multiple incumbents running in deep Trump country, and win an Electoral College with a “very narrow playing field,” victory will be decided by voter turnout.
Obviously, women, young people, and first-time voters will be critical coalitions the party will look to energize and activate. But for Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), there’s another key group worth investing in early and often: Black men.
And for good reason: The demographic slightly shifted in 2020 towards the current frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination and former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden — a continuation of a decline in Black male support for Democrats since Barack Obama’s elections in 2012 and 2008.
“Black men can decide a Senate race, a gubernatorial race, a county race, a mayor’s race, and literally choose the elected officials they want based on their voting numbers,” Bowman said. “So that’s why I reached out to not just the DNC, but the Congressional Black Caucus, the White House, and others, to really begin the process of organizing Black male political power.”
As a kick-off to that effort, Bowman will convene a group of Black men for a Democratic National Committee-backed roundtable discussion in Yonkers, a southeastern industrial city in his district, to provide a space for them to speak their minds.
Your Supercreator Daily author hopped on the phone Thursday afternoon to chat with the two-term congressman about the systematic rollback of historic civil rights wins, the issues Black men tell him matter most to them, and the 2024 commitments he hopes to secure from the attendees.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
What inspired you to reach out to the DNC to put this event together at this moment?
So, first of all, I’m the first Black man to hold this congressional seat in US history. So it’s incumbent upon me, and very important for me, to reach out to other Black men throughout my district and men of color — Latino men as well, Asian men, et cetera — to make sure they are persistently and consistently engaged in the political process and that they build political power.
I am very clear, and I’ve always been very clear, this nation has a history of white supremacy. That white supremacy is deeply rooted in white patriarchy. And although we have made many historic strides throughout history, from the Voting Rights Act to the Civil Rights Act to so many other bills, we see many of the things that other Black men and Black people and allies have fought and died for throughout history being rolled back.
And so now is the time to ensure that we come together as Black men to build and exercise our social, political, and economic power in every aspect of American life. Because when Black men consistently mobilize and organize and vote and hold elected officials accountable, transformational change happens.
Black people, specifically Black men, aren’t a monolith. We care about different issues, many of which intersect with other historically overlooked and underserved groups. But are there any in particular that you’re looking forward to speaking about during the roundtable?
Well, we want them to bring the issues to us. And that's what’s most important about this sort of gathering.
Oftentimes, these gatherings are very top-down and paternal. And we want them to be grassroots-led and bottom-up in terms of our engagement. And so whatever issues they care about are the issues that we are going to champion as the Democratic Party and as the DNC.
Many issues that I’ve heard about over the years are pretty much the same issues: I hear that black men want to build Black wealth. That’s a major issue for Black men.
Another major issue is police brutality and mass incarceration. There are many others like education, and climate, and the Black family that comes to mind.
Take Supercreator Daily readers inside the event: What’s the format? What are you hoping these Black men take away from it?
It’s going to be myself and [Democratic strategist] Antjuan Seawright facilitating the discussion.
The format will be a roundtable discussion, data sharing, and building coalitions toward designing and thinking about some next steps.
And we want commitments from Black men not only to vote, but to knock [on] doors, to phone bank, and to organize their local communities.
So that’s what we’re looking to do. And to organize around, again, not just the election, but organizing to lobby for specific issues that they care about at every level of government. It’s gonna be great.
👋🏾 HI, HEY, HELLO! Welcome to Supercreator Daily, the essential guide to the politicians, power brokers, and policies shaping the American creator experience. Good Friday morning. It’s July 28, 2023.
The Senate passed its version of the annual national defense policy bill last night by a vote of 86-11. Now senators will work with the House to reconcile the differences between their legislation and the party-line package Republicans passed earlier this month by Sep. 30.
The House passed the first of 12 funding bills focused on military construction and veterans benefits, by a vote of 219-211. GOP leadership failed to secure the votes needed to pass the agriculture funding bill so it canceled votes for today and sent members home to start a six-week recess a day early.
The House also passed two disapproval resolutions to loosen endangered species protections for the lesser prairie chicken and long-eared bat. President Biden is expected to veto both bills.
The economy grew at a stronger-than-expected 2.4 percent rate in the second quarter. “The data speaks for itself: “We’re growing the economy and growing the middle class,” House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) said in a statement.
Counterpoint: “GDP grew, but no thanks to shoppers. That’s a problem.” by Megan Leonhardt
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) gave a little TMI to the audience at a prayer breakfast on Thursday morning to explain why she was almost late. “When I woke up this morning at 7, I was getting picked up at 7:45. Patrick, my fiancé, tried to pull me by my waist over this morning in bed. And I was like, ‘No, baby, we don’t got time for that this morning. I gotta get to the prayer breakfast. And I gotta be on time.’” 😳
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) reached an agreement with the State Department to confirm more than a dozen US ambassadorships ahead of the August recess that Paul had been holding up. Paul had been seeking records on the origins of COVID and information on the government programs funded during the pandemic to examine any objectionable links to the Chinese government. One newly confirmed ambassador is the US envoy to Niger, the location of an ongoing coup with massive geopolitical implications.
Related: Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is not following in Paul’s footsteps and lifting his hold on hundreds of military promotions in protest of a Pentagon abortion travel policy. “It alarms me that we can’t come to a conclusion,” Tuberville told CNN’s Manu Raju. “And nobody’s talking to me.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reiterated his calls for Republican leadership to influence Tuberville to drop the holds.
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Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) reintroduced a Senate resolution to declare racism a public health crisis. The resolution acknowledges the history of racism and discrimination within health care and the systemic barriers that people of color continue to face when seeking care. It also encourages concrete action to address health disparities and inequity across society.
Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Mace introduced a bill that would allow someone who was previously denied a security clearance or a federal job opportunity based on marijuana use the chance to have the denial reviewed. The lawmakers say Americans are still routinely denied security clearances if they admit to using weed, despite the pace at which it’s being legalized.
Related: The top four congressional health committee leaders asked the FDA for information on its regulation of cannabidiol, also known as CBD. One of the questions the lawmakers asked the agency: “How has the absence of federal regulation over CBD created a market for intoxicating, synthetically-produced compounds?”
More than 100 advocacy groups signed a letter in support of an amendment to the 2024 House Agriculture/FDA funding bill to strike a provision restricting access to medication abortion. “This harmful new rider is another attack on our fundamental freedom to make decisions about our own bodies,” the group wrote. “It is imperiling critical legislation by attaching ideological policy provisions that have no place in annual appropriations bills.”
Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) has invited members of Congress to tour Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the site of the deadliest high school shooting in US history, next week before it is torn down. The first-term congressman, an alum of the school who was on campus on the day of the shooting, set up the tour to foster discussions on school safety and security.
Too hot for lovin’ • “The climate is changing everything — including our sex lives” by Julia Sonenshein: “In climate change, we face an unimaginable threat to humanity. As humans do, however, we’re living through it: We’re working, we’re cooking dinner, we’re seeing friends, and we’re having sex. But sex is changing. Birth rates are down, and some people who are forgoing parenthood cite climate change as a factor.”
Climate denial on the right • “100 degree days, wildfires … to congressional Republicans, nothing to see here” by Pablo Manriquez
The labor movement • “Labor made peace with UPS. But what about UPS’s chief competitor?” by Timothy Noah: “FedEx Ground is nonunion, and its drivers aren’t even employees. They’re “independent contractors,” and therein lies a racket.”
Criminal justice reform • “Connecticut has done something remarkable with crime” by Wayne D’orio: “In 1999 Connecticut had so many people in prison that it paid to send 500 of them to be incarcerated in Virginia. Nearly 25 years later, the state has not only sliced its number of imprisoned people in half, but been able to close more than 10 prisons while keeping its crime rate at its lowest level in more than 40 years.”
The White House announced new actions to lower housing costs, including promoting commercial-to-residential conversions. The initiative has the opportunity to reduce energy costs for residents and cut climate pollution by adapting commercial properties to create zero-emissions housing.
Related: The administration also took new actions to protect renters. Several agencies released guidance or best practices to ensure fairness for renters from landlords, operators, and stakeholders who rely on tenant screening reports to evaluate renter applications.
President Biden announced four new judicial nominees, including the first Hispanic person to serve on the US District Court for the District of Minnesota if confirmed. The slate is the president’s 36th round of nominees since taking office.
ON THE FLOOR
The House is in at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session.
The Senate is in at 11:45 a.m. for a pro forma session.
CAPITOL HILL HAPPENINGS
Not much on this first Friday of recess.
9 a.m. President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
10:10 a.m. The president will travel from the White House to Auburn, Maine, arriving at 12:20 p.m.
1:15 p.m. President Biden will speak about Bidenomics.
2:15 p.m. The president will travel from Auburn to Brunswick, Maine, arriving at 2:30 p.m.
4 p.m. President Biden will speak at a campaign reception.
5:25 p.m. The president will leave Brunswick to travel to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for the weekend, arriving at 7:30 p.m.
9:50 a.m. Vice President Harris will travel from Washington, DC to Des Moines, Iowa, arriving at 12:30 a.m.
1:10 p.m.: The vice president will participate in a moderated conversation on abortion rights at Drake University.
3:40 p.m. Vice President Harris will travel back to DC, arriving at 5:45 p.m.
All times Eastern
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