Members and teens from 247 chapters representing 33 U.S. states conducted 252 congressional meetings during Jack and Jill of America, Inc.’s (JJOA) 7th Biennial ‘On the Hill’ Legislative Summit. An 81-year-old national non-profit organization dedicated to developing youth into leaders through cultural, civic and social experiences, JJOA kicked off the conference with a Legislative Advocacy Day at the U.S. Capitol with 1000 of its teen delegates holding 66 meetings with the U.S. Senate and 186 with the U.S. House of Representatives. On Sept. 26, JJOA teens met with 147 Democrats and 103 Republicans to say ‘The Time is Now’ to act on key legislative issues, e.g.: voter registration; equity in education; and gun violence prevention and safety.
“Empowering our youth to take pride in civic, political and advocacy engagement is at the forefront of our organization’s mission and core values,” said Danielle Brown, national president, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. “And last week, 1,000 of our teen delegates demonstrated the will, desire and commitment to independently meet with 150 of our congressional leaders to raise their voices and exclaim, “The Time is Now.” Now is the time to enact legislation, which will make the United States a safer and more equitable place to live and thrive.”
During the ‘On the Hill’ Legislative Summit, JJOA and its philanthropic arm, Jack and Jill Foundation, also launched a scholarship endowment, with a goal to raise $2 million collectively. The HBCU ‘Close the Gap’ Scholarship Fund, has a purpose of providing seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with an unmet financial need and are unable to graduate—an emergency gift.
“Each year college students with only one or two semesters left cannot graduate due to small unmet financial needs,” said Brown. “Students attending HBCUs will have an emergency gift to pay tuition balances. The outcome is simple. We want students to graduate! Jack and Jill is not just committed to our children, but all Black youth.”
With the goal of increasing the number of students graduating from HBCUs, students in good standing who are close to finishing their degrees will qualify to have their remaining tuition bill paid in full courtesy of the Jack and Jill Foundation’s HBCU Gap Scholarship. The $2 million endowments will begin with collaboration with the foundation over a 10-year period ($100,000 annually) into a scholarship-endowed fund for students attending an HBCU.
Jack and Jill of America joined the national voices of those advocating for policies and practices that would better protect communities of color with its first-ever ‘The Time is Now: Gun Violence Prevention and Safety Rally.’ More than 1000 teens and parents donned in orange (the color for National Gun Violence Awareness) spread the conversation about gun violence prevention and safety through a live stream of the rally and social media conversation using the hash tag #jjgoesorange.
Legislative and community advocates from civil rights attorneys, journalists, media commentators, authors, political strategists to activists (all staunch champions of the organization’s mission to nurture future African American leaders) supported JJOA’s ‘On The Hill’ Legislative Summit throughout the week by participating in town halls, workshops, keynote addresses, online engagement and more.