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News & Updates

CBCI Urges ‘Partnerships’ & ‘Equitable Public Policy’ to Fight Injustice

Executive Director Vanessa Griddine-Jones headlines international symposium on addressing historic injustices and legacies of slavery, colonialism, and racism through public policy

Washington, DC [January 28, 2022] – This week, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI) urged heightened focus on partnerships and equitable public policy at the 8th Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs. The high-level international event, organized by the World Council of Church’s Ecumenical Office to the United Nations, seeks to focus attention on the urgent need to transform our world through exposing and redressing the systemic injustices of racism, colonialism and slavery that continue to pervade all aspects of society.

“CBCI has partnered with corporations, faith-based and civil rights organizations, NGOs and other like-minded individuals to identify the issues and seek viable, actionable solutions that are transparent and accountable,” said CBCI Executive Director Vanessa Griddine-Jones during her opening remarks at the Symposium. “To this end, CBCI has organized high-level non-partisan, political education trainings, conducted webinars to address disparities in health, education, financial wealth and as always systemic racism.”

“We know that these challenges didn’t begin last year or a generation ago or even a century past,” observed Executive Director Gridding Jones. “2022’s threats to our democracy, our health, our bodies, and our resources are rooted in slavery, colonialism, and racism that were tools of a system designed to stunt our growth and paralyze our progress. And, sadly, that system still works like a well-oiled machine.”

The Symposium is held each January in close proximity to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday to help commemorate the values and legacy he bequeathed to the world. It is also a contribution to the global observance of the World Interfaith Harmony Week that is celebrated annually in the first week of February.

Eight years ago, faith-based partners came together to launch an annual symposium around the intersections of religion and international affairs. They partnered with the UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development with the intention of organizing an annual policy dialogue between the UN System, member states, faith actors and wider civil society on critical issues of the day. Over the years, the sponsorship of the Symposium has included an increasing range of faith traditions and different UN entities.

In partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and Office of Genocide Prevention and Right to Protect, for the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Religion and Development, the sponsoring organizations of the 8th Annual Symposium were: ACT Alliance, General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church, Islamic Relief, Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Soka Gakkai International, United Religions Initiative, World Council of Churches.

The symposium’s recorded livestream can be viewed at:

For media requests and interviews with Executive Director Griddine-Jones, please email .

About the Congressional Black Caucus Institute

The CBCI is a nonprofit, non-partisan, social welfare organization working to inform, inspire and ignite the African American community around issues that impact it the most. Its programs educate voters, train new political leaders, and advocate for powerful solutions. The Congressional Black Caucus Institute Global African Diaspora Initiative (CBCI-GADI) is the international arm of CBCI as a member of the United Nations ECOSOC with Consultative Status. In this capacity, CBCI serves as the platform for the African American voice at the United Nations relating to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is a Board member of the Conference on Non-Governmental Organizations (CoNGO). The CBCI is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and organizations. For more information about the CBCI visit


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