The State of Black America report is published annually by the National Urban League. The report provides compelling commentary and insightful analysis about economics, education, health care, employment, criminal justice, housing, and civic participation.
Nancy Flake Johnson, the president and CEO of Urban League of Greater Atlanta, spoke with rolling out on April 18, 2023, about the State of Black America and social justice issues in the community.
Why was it special for you to host this panel on the campus of Morehouse College?
It’s huge. I’m an HBCU graduate myself,; I’m a Howard University grad. We’ve released the report on Howard’s campus in the past, but to bring it to where I’m based, now, Atlanta, which is my hometown, to [Atlanta University] Center, is huge. And what I like the most about it, was not just being here, but hearing the voices of the diverse group of students was amazing. It brought home how I know in my leadership, we’re going to commit to doing more on the campus and engage and build a constituency here so we can be the best we can be at the Urban League.
Having the conversation with the HBCU students, what does that tell you about the future of America?
I felt a combination of relief and pride, and I know we were going to be OK. That’s what I built through the whole experience, just how savvy and concerned, and committed the young people were that were on that stage. I know it’s been rough across these 400 years but we’re strong people and we’re resilient. We’re up for the fight and I know that if we just lean in more to the young generation, we can take this on and push back on this movement that’s afoot right now.
How can other people in the community make a change when it comes to social justice issues?
I know people probably are tired of hearing it, but it’s true. We’ve got to exercise the power of the vote. We have to understand if they’re doing all of these things across every state passing over 400 laws to stop us from voting, it must be important. And it is because the country is based on laws and the people that make them know how to use them for their own best interests. We’re in a wave right now of laws that are being passed that are detrimental directly and intentionally to our community. Register to vote, be educated on your candidates, get to the polls, advocate for others, and run for office. We need more young people who care about our values to get into office. Let’s be kinder to each other. Let’s lean in and be more united again, and support each other. We got to end up picking up guns to resolve problems. I feel that COVID, social media and technology have put extra pressure on our mental health, and we need to provide more mental health resources.