2016 Presidential Election Briefing

BWR 2016 Election Event flyer



Media Alert 

#WeDecide: Presidential Election 2016 

Essence BWR Election Poll

Panelist Biographies

Denise Rolark Barnes is the publisher of The Washington Informer, the award-winning community newspaper serving the African-American community in the Washington metropolitan area.  Ms. Rolark Barnes directs the Washington Informer Charities, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and sponsors internship opportunities and writing competitions for students interested in pursuing careers in journalism. She is a past president of AARP-DC and serves on the boards of several local community and municipal organizations. Ms. Rolark Barnes is a graduate of Howard University and Howard University School of Law.

Clayola Brown is President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Her lifelong commitment to labor activism began in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, where she—alongside her activist mother—campaigned to organize the Manhattan Shirt Factory.  Ms. Brown’s tremendous commitment to her community and her fellow man is apparent through the many boards and organizations on which she currently serves, including America’s Agenda: Healthcare for All, the National Board of the NAACP (including chairing both the NAACP Image Awards Committee and co-chairing the Labor Ad-Hoc Committee).

 Melanie L. Campbell is the President & CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (The National Coalition) and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable Intergenerational Public Policy Network. Ms. Campbell is a nationally recognized expert in civic engagement, black voter participation, election reform, voting rights, census and coalition building. She has served in the civil rights, social justice, youth and women’s rights movement for over 20 years.  One of Ms. Campbell’s most rewarding accomplishments has been creating an innovative, youth-focused leadership development program, Black Youth Vote! (BYV), for which she received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Legacy Award.

State Representative Karen Camper of Memphis, Tennessee, has been a member of the Tennessee General Assembly since 2008. A veteran of the United States Army, Rep. Camper brings to the table her unique perspective on national security and the importance of service. In the Tennessee General Assembly, she serves as chair of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, chair of the Veteran’s Legislative Caucus and is a member of the Judiciary and Transportation Committees. Rep. Camper is an active member of her community, serving on the International Business Council Advisory Board, member of VFW Post 11133, founder of The Humble Hearts Foundation Inc., a Charter Member of Women in Military Service for America, and a Lifetime Member of Black in Government and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Vanessa K. DeLuca is Editor-in-Chief of ESSENCE where she is responsible for overseeing the content and vision for the preeminent magazine for Black women, as well as ESSENCE.com, the daily online destination for African-American women. De Luca joined ESSENCE more than a decade ago as Beauty and Fashion Features Editor.  In 2003, she was named Lifestyle Director and was promoted to Executive Editor in 2005. De Luca was named to her current post in July 2013. Prior to joining ESSENCE, she served in a variety of editorial capacities at publications such as Life and Glamour. She is also the coauthor of the best-selling beauty and empowerment book, Tyra Banks Beauty Inside & Out. De Luca received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and her Master of Science in Magazine Concentration from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Holli L. Holliday serves as the National Campaign Director at the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. In addition, she also is the Chief Advisor and CEO of Holliday Advisors, LLC.,  where she works with organizations to align Strategy, Execution and Teamwork, the S.E.T. method, to successfully accomplish goals. As a former nonprofit executive, Ms. Holliday has passionately worked to improve her community.  She has helped manage or advise hundreds of campaigns of good people who fight for families, communities and small businesses.

Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D., is the President & CEO of Incite Unlimited, LLC and Host of the new nationally-syndicated radio show, Focus Point with Avis Jones-DeWeever, a show which examines the intersection of race, gender, politics, and life.  An authority on race and gender in the American economy, poverty in urban communities, inequality of educational and economic opportunity, and issues of privilege, power, and policy in the US and beyond, Dr. Jones-DeWeever is the author of numerous publications focused on issues of particular importance to women of African descent. A selection of her works includes: Women’s Empowerment Matters: Engaging the Global Economy by Leaving No Woman Behind; The Forgotten Ones: Black Women in the Wake of Katrina; What Black America Owes the First Black President; and the forthcoming book, Black Women Lead: Owning Your Power, Living Your Purpose, Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond.

Illai Kenney is an internationally recognized environmental and social justice activist. Ms. Kenney’s activism dates back to the tender age of nine years old when she made her first public speech and by the time she completed high school, she had founded Georgia Kids Against Pollution; challenged Coca-Cola over its water practices in India; and served as a delegate to the UN Summit on Sustainability, where she spoke on eliminating poverty. She is an activist with Black Youth Vote! and has written on variety of topics, including voting rights, climate change and the Ferguson protests. Ms. Kenney received a B.A. degree from Howard University in 2015.

April Ryan, a 26-year journalism veteran, has been the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) since January of 1997, covering three Presidents. Along with daily responsibilities at the White House, Ms. Ryan hosts the daily feature, The White House Report, which is broadcast to AURN’s nearly 475 affiliated stations nationwide. Ryan also hosts a new Digital television program for Colours TV called the White House Report with April Ryan where minority America is given the White House perspective on matters specific to their community. Ms. Ryan is also a regular panelist on Washington Watch with Roland Martin for TV ONE.

Over the past 14 years, Ryan has conducted one-on-one interviews with a host of high profile political leaders and other opinion leaders. Prior to working for AURN, Ryan worked for several radio stations in Baltimore, including WXYV-FM, where she was news director.

Tara Setmayer is a CNN political commentator. She is a distinguished fellow for the Hamilton Foundation. Ms. Setmayer served as the Communications Director for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) for seven years where she handled policy issues on immigration and federal law enforcement. Ms. Setmayer has appeared as a commentator on various national television programs on Fox News Channel, ABC, HBO, CNN and C-SPAN and for 10 years, she was a regular panelist on the women’s issues program “To The Contrary” on PBS.  Setmayer is a member of the National Advisory Council for Project 21 and she served as a political trainer for GOPAC, a conservative organization specializing in educating, organizing and training grassroots Republicans aspiring to run for public office across the country.

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner is President of Skinner Leadership Institute (SLI). Skinner Leadership Institute works to produce a new generation of leaders who are technically excellent and spiritually mature. Dr. Williams-Skinner has written numerous articles including “The Power of Love,” “Been There, Done That: Why African American Christians Resist Racial Reconciliation,” “Why and How Would Jesus Vote” and “Obama, the Black Church, and the  Promise of Reconciliation”. She has also published two leadership training workbooks, Becoming an Effective 21st Century Leader and Personal Transformation through Biblical Reconciliation.