Improving Economic Mobility with Data
Improving life outcomes among Black people demands research and tools that recognize and measure Black assets in a way that reflects the intersectional nature of our lived experience. The Black Assets Index will measure the strength and vitality of Black Americans and Black-majority cities across the country. It will uplift and measure factors and conditions that increase economic and social mobility, providing a comprehensive snapshot of the opportunities to improve the quality of life of Black people.
Rather than assess the state of the Black community through a deficit lens, the Black Assets Index will highlight assets and strengths in Black communities that racism has devalued.
NAACP is partnering with Brookings Metro, to produce wide-ranging research and tools, including an annual report and public data dashboard. To fuel direct action The Black Assets Index will:
- Serve as an invaluable resource that community leaders can trust and call upon for research and policy analysis.
- Elevate the national discourse on improving upward economic and social mobility in America.
- Advance policy ideas for adoption among federal, state, and local policy makers to accelerate economic opportunity for individuals and communities.
- Create a lasting hub for young and diverse experts to exert positive influence on the future of public policy and life chances for low-income Americans.
- Improve the impact and relevance of national policy institutions by generating research and ideas that reflect the experience of low-income and marginalized communities.
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This partnership combines NAACP's commitment to advancement and civil rights and Brookings' commitment to rigorous, independent research. Together, we will shift policies and deficit narratives, leading to collective action and impactful policy change.
Sign up to be the first to receive updates on the Black Assets Index and to learn more about increasing economic and social mobility for the Black community.
We've recently seen conspiracy theories with harmful racialized overtones drive elections and policy. The only way to combat this is with facts. The need for a trusted source for information is needed now more than ever.- Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP
President & CEO, NAACP
President & CEO
Derrick Johnson serves as President and CEO of the NAACP, a title he has held since October of 2017. President Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. A longstanding member and leader of the NAACP, Mr. Johnson has helped guide the Association through a period of re-envisioning and reinvigoration.
Under President Johnson's leadership, the NAACP has undertaken such efforts as the 2018 "Log Out" Facebook Campaign, pressuring Facebook after reports of Russian hackers targeting African Americans, the Jamestown to Jamestown Partnership, marking the 400th year enslaved Africans first touched the shores of America, and the 2020 We are Done Dying Campaign, exposing the inequities embedded into the American healthcare system and the country at large.
As the Biden Administration took office in 2021, President Johnson led the charge in calling for a Cabinet-level position focused squarely on advancing our nation's longstanding issue of racial justice. President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing an interagency effort to eliminate systemic racial barriers and ensuring federal policies are rooted in equity, optimizing the well-being of all in public policies.
The height of the NAACP is yet to be seen. It is our opportunity to seize upon our collective energy to make democracy work for our future. There will always be tools and devices, whether it's technology or otherwise that we can leverage and use, but there is no greater tool or device than the collective whole working in unison towards a goal of securing civil rights for our future generations.
President Johnson also continues to be on the frontlines on some of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time, calling out Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for his use of Blackface, condemning the burning of Black churches in Tennessee and Louisiana, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to Attorney General William Barr's nomination, and overseeing the NAACP's vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump at the 110th National Convention in Detroit.
President Johnson elevated the Association's visibility and voice as we called for a national response to the coronavirus pandemic that was informed by existing racial disparities in health care outcomes, access, coverage and services, as well as the disparate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and other people of color.
Recognizing the critical importance of quality health care, he has long advocated for expanded Medicaid eligibility, affordable health insurance options, and investment in community-based health care infrastructure through a strong network of equitably-located, well-resourced community health centers.
Born in Detroit, Mr. Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. He then received his JD from the South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX. Mr. Johnson has also furthered his training through fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served as an annual guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, lending his expertise to Professor Lani Guinier's course on social movements, and as an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College.
Mr. Johnson is a veteran activist who has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. As State President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. He successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, MS that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million towards the construction of a new convention center, respectively. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Mr. Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.
President Johnson is frequently featured on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and many others, advocating on behalf of the Black community and all those who are affected by systemic oppression and prejudice.
President, The Brookings Institution
John R. Allen
President, The Brookings Institution
John Rutherford Allen assumed the presidency of the Brookings Institution in November 2017, having most recently served as a distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings. Allen is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. He is the co-author of the book Turning Point: Policymaking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence alongside co-author Darrell M. West (Brookings Press, 2020). He is also the co-author of Future War and the Defence of Europe alongside LTG (Ret.) Frederick "Ben" Hodges and Professor Julian Lindley French (Oxford University Press, 2021).
Allen served in two senior diplomatic roles following his retirement from the Marine Corps. First, for 15 months as senior advisor to the secretary of defense on Middle East Security, during which he led the security dialogue for the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. President Barack Obama then appointed Allen as special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, a position he held for 15 months. Allen's diplomatic efforts grew the coalition to 65 members, effectively halting the expansion of ISIL. In recognition of this work, he was presented the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award by Secretary John Kerry and the Director of National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Award by Director James Clapper.
During his nearly four-decade military career, Allen served in a variety of command and staff positions in the Marine Corps and the Joint Force. He commanded 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013. Allen is the first Marine to command a theater of war. During his tenure as ISAF commander, he recovered the 33,000 U.S. surge forces, moved the Afghan National Security Forces into the lead for combat operations, and pivoted NATO forces from being a conventional combat force into an advisory command. In Iraq, he served as Deputy Commander of Multinational Force – West, during the intense combat operations in the western desert of Al Anbar Province in 2007. Working closely with the Anbari tribes, he was a principal facilitator in the emergence of the Awakening (Sahawa) Movement of tribes of Al Anbar, which led to the defeat of Al Qaeda and other insurgent forces in Iraq's largest province.
Allen's first tour as a general officer was as the principal director of Asia-Pacific policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a position he held for nearly three years during the George W. Bush Administration. In this assignment, he was involved extensively with policy initiatives involving China, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia. Allen also participated in the Six-Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and played a major role in organizing the relief effort during the South Asian tsunami from 2004 to 2005.
Beyond his operational and diplomatic credentials, Allen has led professional military educational programs, including as director of the Marine Infantry Officer Program and commanding officer of the Marine Corps Basic School. He twice served at the United States Naval Academy, first as a military instructor, where he was named instructor of the year in 1990, and later as commandant of midshipmen; the first Marine Corps officer to hold this position. Allen was the Marine Corps fellow to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the first Marine officer to serve as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, where today he is a permanent member.
Among his other affiliations, Allen serves on the Global Commission for Post-Pandemic Policy and is a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is an "Ancien" of the NATO Defense College in Rome, and a frequent lecturer there.
Allen is the recipient of numerous U.S. and foreign military awards. He is the 2015 co-recipient of the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) Eisenhower Award, and the 2020 recipient of the Czech and Slovak Transatlantic Award for his work on strengthening democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in operations analysis from the U.S. Naval Academy, where in 2021 he was declared a Distinguished Graduate by the Naval Academy Alumni Association. Allen also holds a Master of Arts in national security studies from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College (now National Intelligence University), and a Master of Science in national security strategy from the National Defense University.
Chief Strategy Officer, NAACP
Chief Strategy Officer
Yumeka Rushing joined the NAACP in 2020 as the organization's first Chief Strategy Officer. Responsible for driving growth and transformation, Yumeka is charged with accelerating the shift toward innovation in a new era of civil rights. As a member of the executive leadership team, she is a key architect of a reimagined enterprise, pioneering new strategies to propel the Association forward over its next decade.
Advancing the NAACP's unique position as the nation's first and largest grassroots civil rights organization, Yumeka's teams work across complex systems and include NAACP Centers of Innovation (C-HOPE), Policy and Legislative Affairs, and Learning and Impact. All aspects of development and stewardship fall within Yumeka's portfolio. As lead strategist, she is part of the brain trust guiding the Association through a period of explosive growth, including expanding and diversifying the donor base, revenue streams, strategic partnerships, and key markets.
A strong advocate for social justice, Yumeka cut her teeth as a community organizer, activist, and trial lawyer. She is a nonprofit veteran, having served as Director of the Mississippi Center for Justice, a local affiliate of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Policy Advisor at Oxfam America, a global humanitarian organization; and as an advisor to nonprofit, philanthropic and public sector clients through her strategy consulting firm. She is a former program officer and lead for strategic programming at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the world, where she managed a multi-million dollar portfolio to foster transformative change for children.
Yumeka is a proud graduate of Spelman College. She has lived and studied in the United Kingdom at the University of Birmingham. She received her Master's in Publishing from Pace University and a Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Her distinguished service includes her tenure as a law clerk to the Honorable Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr., United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Yumeka is passionate about giving back to the community and is an alumna of the prestigious MIT Community Innovators Mel King Fellowship. She currently serves as Vice President of the board of the Children's Foundation of Mississippi. A native of the Magnolia State, she is married and has three daughters.
Vice President and Director, Brookings Metro
Vice President and Director, Brookings Metro
Amy Liu is Vice President and Director of Brookings Metro and the Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy. A national expert on cities and metropolitan areas, Liu translates research insights into action on the ground and excels at linking local experiences to federal policymaking. As Director of Brookings Metro, which Liu co-founded in 1996, she pioneered the program's signature approach to state and local engagements, which uses rigorous research to inform strategies for economic growth and opportunity. Liu has worked directly on such strategies with scores of public, private, and philanthropic sector leaders in regions around the country, including Chicago, Detroit, Louisville, San Diego, and Birmingham.
Liu writes frequently about inclusive economic growth, the fortunes of mid-sized cities and small towns, and the intersection of the economic, workforce, and community development policies. She penned a brief that frames ways in which state and local leaders can "Rebuild Better" and achieve a more equitable economic recovery post-COVID-19, and wrote an essay describing how CEOs can advance racial equity in their regional economies. Liu's paper "Remaking Economic Development" has catalyzed shifts in economic development toward higher-quality growth, prosperity, and inclusion for all residents. In 2011, Liu was lead editor of "Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita," which built on her co-authorship of the New Orleans Index, a multiyear series of reports that tracked New Orleans' progress in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Liu is frequently cited in top media outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.
Liu also has extensive experience working with states and the federal government to develop policies and strategies to support cities and metropolitan areas. In 2013, Liu served as a special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, guiding policy priorities related to trade, innovation, and data. Prior to Liu's work at Brookings, she was Special Assistant to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros and staffed the U.S. Senate Banking Committee's subcommittee on housing and urban affairs.
Liu brings her passion for inclusive prosperity and bottom-up action to key nonprofits and institutions. Liu serves on several nonprofit boards such as Equal Measure, which helps local and national organizations advance social change, JUST Capital, which advances stakeholder capitalism among corporations, and Connected DMV, a regional collaborative in greater Washington, D.C. Liu is an advisory council member to ACT for Alexandria, a local community foundation, and Urban Land Institute Washington, and is also a member of the University of Illinois System President's Advisory Council and the Walton Family Foundation Research Advisory Council. Liu has received numerous accolades for her work over the years, including being named to Washington Business Journal's 2021 class of Women Who Mean Business awardees.
Liu holds a degree in social policy and urban studies from Northwestern University. In 2015, Liu completed the High Impact Leadership Program at Columbia Business School.
Senior Fellow, Brookings Metro
Dr. Andre Perry
Senior Fellow, Brookings Metro
Andre M. Perry is a Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro, a scholar-in-residence at American University, and a columnist for the Hechinger Report. A nationally known and respected commentator on race, structural inequality, and education, Perry is the author of the book "Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America's Black Cities," which is currently available wherever books are sold. Perry is a regular contributor to MSNBC and has been published by numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post, TheRoot.com, and CNN.com. Perry has also made appearances on HBO, CNN, PBS, National Public Radio, NBC, and ABC. Perry's research focuses on race and structural inequality, education, and economic inclusion. Perry's recent scholarship at Brookings has analyzed Black-majority cities and institutions in America, focusing on valuable assets worthy of increased investment.
Perry's pioneering work on asset devaluation has made him a go-to researcher for policymakers, community development professionals, and civil rights groups. Perry co-authored the groundbreaking 2018 Brookings Institution report "The Devaluation of Assets in Black Neighborhoods" and has presented its findings on the price of homes in Black neighborhoods across the country, including to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. He has extended that report's focus on housing in Black neighborhoods to include other assets such as businesses, schools, and banks.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Perry has documented the underlying causes for the outsized number of coronavirus-related deaths in Black communities. Perry's Brookings research has illuminated how certain forms of social distancing historically accelerated economic and social disparities between Black people and the rest of the country. Perry also mapped racial inequities in housing, income, and health to underscore how policy discrimination makes Black Americans more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Prior to his work at Brookings, Perry has been a founding dean, professor, award-winning journalist, and activist in the field of education. In 2015, Perry served on Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards' K-12 education transition committee, as well as on New Orleans Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu's transition team as its co-chair for education in 2010. In 2013, Perry founded the College of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Preceding his stint in Michigan, Perry was an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of New Orleans and served as CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Perry earned his Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park.
Fellow, Brookings Metro
Dr. Kristen Broady
Fellow, Brookings Metro
Dr. Kristen Broady is a Fellow at Brookings Metro. She is a Professor of Financial Economics on leave at Dillard University in New Orleans. She previously served on the faculties of Howard University, Alabama A&M University, Dominican University, Fort Valley State University, and Kentucky State University and as a visiting faculty member at Jiangsu Normal University in Xuzhou, China during the summer of 2019. Dr. Broady served as a consultant for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C.; a senior research fellow for the Center for Global Policy Solutions in Washington, D.C.; a consultant for the City of East Point, Georgia and as an HBCU consultant for season two of The Quad on Black Entertainment Television (BET) in Atlanta.
Her areas of research include mortgage foreclosure risk, labor and automation, and racial health disparities. She earned a B.A. in criminal justice at Alcorn State University and an MBA and Ph.D. in business administration with a major in economics at Jackson State University.
Director of Learning and Impact, NAACP
Dr. Marjorie Innocent
Director of Learning and Impact
Dr. Marjorie Innocent serves as Director of Learning and Impact at NAACP. In this capacity, she's responsible for internal structures and systems for capturing metrics, monitoring progress, reporting, and cross-team sharing and learning. She leads transformative, interdisciplinary research and evaluation projects in collaboration with external partners. Along with a working team, she also develops and communicates the Association's learning impacts to a broad audience of stakeholders to promote the NAACP as a critical resource and advance equity-centered policies as standard practice.
As a health policy professional, Dr. Innocent has served as Senior Director of Health Programs at NAACP, Vice President of Research and Programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc. in Washington, DC, Evaluation Specialist in the Department of Shared Accountability at Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, MD, Research Associate at the Center for Applied Research and Technical Assistance Inc. in Baltimore, MD, and Director of the Maryland School-Based Health Center Initiative at the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families in Baltimore.
Dr. Innocent earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and French Literature from Columbia College in New York, NY. She has published numerous articles and writings covering various health and education-related topics. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she is fluent in French and Haitian Creole and has working knowledge of Spanish.
Director, Education Innovation and Research, NAACP
Dr. Ivory Toldson
Director, Education Innovation and Research
Dr. Ivory Toldson was dubbed a leader "who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House" by The Washington Post, one of "30 leaders in the fight for Black men," by Newsweek Magazine, and the "Problem Solver" by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.
Dr. Toldson served as the president and CEO of the QEM Network, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs). Throughout his career, Dr. Toldson also served as a senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.
A sought-after speaker, Dr. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, C-SPAN2 Books, NPR News, POTUS on XM Satellite Radio, and numerous national and local radio stations. In print, his research has been featured in The Washington Post, CNN.com, The New York Times, The Root, The National Journal, Essence Magazine, BET.com, The Grio, and Ebony Magazine.
In addition to ongoing work with elected officials, government executives, HBCU leaders, and advocacy groups, Dr. Toldson conceptualized the White House Initiative on HBCUs All-Stars program during the Obama administration, which identified and engaged the top HBCU scholars. As a senior research analyst for the CBCF, Dr. Toldson conceptualized, developed and authored the Breaking Barriers series, which analyzed success indicators for school-aged Black males. He has worked effectively with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and their staff to organize national and district-level forums on educational equity and access.
Dr. Toldson has varied executive leadership experiences and has served on many advisory boards. He is an advisory board member for Generation Ready and the Morehouse Research Institute, and on the board of directors for the National Council on Educating Black Children, a premier non-profit and civil rights organization with a distinguished focus on improving educational opportunities and outcomes for African American children.
Dr. Toldson was named in the 2013 and 2014 The Root 100, an annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders. His body of research was featured in The Foundation Center report, Building a Beloved Community, for his role in shaping sponsored programs for Black male achievement. Dr. Toldson was awarded the: Equity Champion Award from the New York City Department of Education; Outstanding Alumni Award from Penn State Black Alumni Association; Top 25 Forensic Psychology Professors, ForensicsColleges.com; and The Emerging Scholar designation from the Diverse Magazine.
Since graduate school, Dr. Toldson has had a career-long affiliation with HBCUs. He takes pride in his ability to promote HBCU scholarship and is an example of professional talent cultivated at HBCUs. He holds an honorary doctorate from Florida Memorial University.
He is married to Marshella Toldson, and together, they are raising their daughter, Makena, and their son, Ivory Kaleb.