The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research


The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research is a multidisciplinary journal, released every two years, that publishes original research and analyses on public policy issues related to black politics in the U.S. and abroad. For our inaugural issue, we welcome in-depth and innovative approaches to advance the study of the full spectrum of black identities, ethnicities and diasporas and how these perspectives inform representative governance, with a particular focus on black members of Congress and their active coalitions. Our principal aim is to foster dialogue between the academic and applied fields in order to better inform policy, programs and practice. We seek to establish a productive and intellectually stimulating space where substantive research on legislation and political processes is produced, argued and publicly discussed by a broad range of contributors, from economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, law, media studies, feminist studies, LGBT and sexuality studies, geography, public policy, history and other related disciplines. All journal contributions are reviewed by our editors and follow the standards of rigorous scholarship and sound analysis, with quantitative and qualitative studies on the social impact of policy receiving special preference and consideration. The journal prioritizes writing that is jargon-free and accessible to an audience of non-experts who seek to engage with academic research and methodologies. With this objective in mind, authors should take care to address a readership outside their respective disciplines. Furthermore, the editors are especially committed to cultivating a forum for early-career professionals, with or without advanced degrees, whose studies have direct policy implications for programs and strategies at various levels of government and civil society that affect African American and minority communities.



Dr. Ivory A. Toldson is 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.  Previously, Dr. Toldson 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). He also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 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.

Managing Editors

Dr. Menna Demessie is the Vice President of Policy and Research for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF), where she works on public policy issues relevant to African Americans. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of California, Washington Center. Prior to joining CBCF’s staff, Dr. Demessie worked for U.S. Representative Barbara Lee as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow focusing on unemployment legislation, poverty, and foreign policy. Her honors include the NCOBPS Presidential Award for Outstanding Dedication and Association Congressional Fellow focusing on unemployment legislation, poverty, and foreign policy. Her honors include the Ginsburg Award for Community Service and Social Action (2010), the Congressional Research Award (2008), and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists Graduate Paper Award (2008).

Dr. Alexandra Sellassie Antohin is the Senior Research and Program Manager for the AVOICE Virtual Library Project of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Dr. Antohin is a socio-cultural anthropologist who studies the intersections of religion and politics in everyday life. Dr. Antohin has conducted qualitative research projects in several international locations, most recently in northern Ethiopia. As a teacher-scholar, she is most interested in community-based research and creating spaces where micro-level perspectives are integrated into its findings and output. Dr. Antohin received her PhD in Social Anthropology from University College London and currently holds a research affiliation with the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies (Cambridge, UK).

Special Section Editor

Dr. Elsie L. Scott, serves as the founding director of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center. She previously served as president and chief executive of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and as the organization’s vice president for research and programs. Dr. Scott has served as executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and Deputy Commissioner of Training for the New York City Police Department. She has also held senior and supervisory roles in the police departments of Detroit and the District of Columbia and with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has taught political science, urban studies and criminal justice at several universities, including Howard University, Rutgers University, the University of Central Florida and North Carolina Central University. She earned degrees in political science from Southern University-Baton Rouge, the University of Iowa and Atlanta University.

Editorial Board

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is the Director of Community Affairs, NYC Department of Environmental Protection and is a Board member of the International Living Future Institute. Ibrahim has a long history working on environmental policy and has expertise in the public, private, and civic sectors on several affairs including sustainability, technology, community engagement, sports, and new media. His work has influenced many realms of society while he served as the sustainability policy advisor to Mayor Bloomberg and currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. He holds numerous awards including the National Urban Fellow (2008), Green for All Fellow (2009), and most recently was named one of the 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in New York City Politics from City & State Magazine (2015).

Dr. Niambi Carter is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Howard University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University (2007) working primarily in the area of AmericanPolitics with a specific focus on Race and Ethnic Politics. Her dissertation research on African American public opinion on immigration is the material for her book manuscript currently under development. Prof. Carter is also actively involved in other work that examines lynching, the nature of race in evaluations of Barack Obama, and the political ideology of African American Republicans.

Dayna Bowen Matthew is the William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law & F. Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights at the University of Virginia. Dr. Matthew is a leader in public health who focuses on racial disparities in health care. She is the author of the book “Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care.” Matthew previously served on the University of Colorado law faculty as a professor, vice dean and associate dean of academic affairs. She is currently a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was a member of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz Medical Campus and held a joint appointment at the Colorado School of Public Health.

Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr., is board certified in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology and a Fellow with the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). Dr. Mitchell sits on national subcommittees for NAME including Education & Planning, Strategic Planning, and is the Immediate Past Chair for the Deaths in Custody Subcommittee. Dr. Mitchell has recently served as the National Co-Chair for the National Medical Associations (NMA) Working Group on Gun Violence and Police Use of Force. He is a graduate of Howard University, Washington DC, and New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ. Dr. Mitchell is licensed to practice medicine in Washington DC. He has performed over 1300 autopsy examinations in his career and has testified as an expert on numerous cases. As the Chief Medical Examiner of D.C., Dr. Mitchell is uniquely positioned to understand the social determinants that lead to the violence affecting our most vulnerable communities. He has a great interest in Violence as a public health issue and has recently co-authored position papers on The Violence Epidemic in the African American Community for the National Medical Association (NMA) and the Definition, Investigation, Postmortem Examination and Reporting of Deaths in Custody for the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).

Dr. Shayla Nunnally is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in Political Science and Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. She is also the 39th President (2017-2019) of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS). She specializes in public opinion and political behavior, race and politics, African American public opinion and political behavior, and black political development. She was awarded the 2009 Fannie Lou Hamer Award for Outstanding Community Service by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Additionally, in 2009, she was awarded the Outstanding Young Professionals Member for the Eastern Region of the National Urban League.

Dr. William Spriggs is a professor in, and former chair of, the Department of Economics at Howard University and serves as chief economist to the AFL-CIO. From 2009 to 2012. In his capacity with the AFL-CIO he serves as chair of the Economic Policy Working Group of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD, and on the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He also serves on the Advisory Board to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute, and is on the editorial board for the Public Administration Review. Spriggs served as assistant secretary for the Office of Policy at the Department of Labor, having been appointed by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At the time of his appointment, he also served as chairman of the Health Care Trust for UAW Retirees of the Ford Motor Co.; chairman of the UAW Retirees of the Dana Corporation Health and Welfare Trust; vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute; on the joint National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Public Administration’s Committee on the Fiscal Future for the United States; senior fellow of the Community Service Society of New York; and served on the boards of the National Employment Law Project and very briefly for the Eastern Economic Association. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the National Academy of Public Administration.


  • The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research will be distributed to the Congressional Black Caucus members, staff and their affiliated networks and will be available in digital form at

2017 Call for contributors for The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research

Deadline passed.

Special issue: “Defining the Black Agenda in the post-Obama era” Edited by: Dr. Menna Demessie (Vice-President of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, CBCF) & Dr. Alexandra Antohin (Senior Research and Program Manager, CBCF)

The Black Agenda has reached broader social attention as a result of the two term administration of President Barack Obama. Though representation at the highest office has produced positive impacts for core civil rights issues, there is also a substantial critique that the Black Agenda has yet to gain the momentum needed to affect everyday change in the lives of African Americans. The monumental step of electing the first black president has not ushered in a post-racial society.

While the historic results of 2016 election represent a major sea-change that will significantly challenge how we study and predict mainstream political behavior, the disconnect between representative leadership and social realities on the ground has long been a point of tension for African American communities. A defining statement from William A. Clay Sr., founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, that “Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies…just permanent interests,” bears true today, as interest groups are forced to strengthen coalitions and working relationships to address key concerns over healthcare, environmental justice, education, police reform and local economic development. Politicians, practitioners, activists and other change-makers now have to contend and react to new elements, compositions, and behaviors of political representation.

For this inaugural issue of the Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, we invite contributions of full length essays (4,000 – 5,000 words) of original writing and approaches to policy analyses, based on quantitative and qualitative research, substantial use of primary and secondary data, and explicit proposals for policy directions. The following are suggested topics for exploring the journal’s special theme, though proposals outside these areas will also be considered:

  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Economic Development, Housing, Jobs and Fairness
  • Criminal Justice, Policing Reform and Gun Safety
  • Healthcare
  • Poverty Reduction and Nutrition
  • Community Empowerment
  • Environmental Justice
  • Foreign Affairs and International Security
  • Voting Rights
  • Gender Inequality


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