European GMF Alumni Delegation Joins Quad Caucus of Minority Legislators
The Quad Caucus, funded by Kellogg Foundation, brings together the four minority caucuses of U.S. state legislators – Asian, Native American, Hispanic, and African American — to collaborate on issues that impact communities of color. The group focuses in particular on cross-state strategies to reduce racism and improve the lives of youth. Through a GMF alumni mini-grant, a delegation of four European alumni of GMF’s Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network (TILN) joined the Quad Caucus discussions that took place in Miami November 6-8, 2014, exploring synergies across the Atlantic. Member of Congress Alcee Hastings, an honorary founder of TILN, also joined these discussions, building on his long standing commitment to share best practices for minority political inclusion across the Atlantic.
The GMF delegation offered a panel about minority political participation in Europe, with presentations by: Mischa Thompson, Policy Advisor, U.S. Helsinki Commission; Lora Berg, Senior Fellow, GMF; Simon Woolley, United Kingdom, Co‐Founder and Director, Operation Black Vote; Assita Kanko, Belgium, Town Councilor of Ixelles, Brussels; David Mark, Romania and Poland, Officer on Roma and Sinti Issues, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; and Gabriele Gün Tank, Germany, Commissioner for Integration for the Tempelhof-Schöneberg district of Berlin.
The impact of the European delegation was immediate in terms of raising awareness and building bridges; Simon Woolley’s presentation brought a standing ovation and conversations both deep and far ranging took place throughout the three days.
As a result of this networking opportunity, a Quad Caucus member visit is planned to Germany in the spring of 2015, possibilities for a Roma caucus are under exploration, and the idea of Quad Caucus Plus One (i.e. Europe) is being floated, including the possibility of further discussions at the Transatlantic Minority Political Leaders Conference in Brussels in March.