Equally American’s Racial Justice series continues with a conversation with former members of Congress

by Jan 25, 2022American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands0 comments

Equally American’s Racial Justice Series continues tomorrow as former members of Congress Donna M. Christensen (D) of the United States Virgin Islands and Robert Underwood (D) of Guam join EA President Neil Weare for a virtual conversation on how systemic racism has impacted and continues to impact residents of US territories. Part II of the series, The Left and Right’s Blindspot in Systemic Racism: America’s Colonies Problem, will take place on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, from 5-6 pm EST (6-7 pm in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and 8-9 am on Thursday, January 27 in Guam).

Donna M. Christensen represented the US Virgin Islands in Congress from 1997 until 2014. A medical doctor by training, she was the first female physician elected to Congress. She chaired the Congressional Black Caucus’ Health Braintrust, which oversees and advocates minority health issues nationally and internationally. She is the daughter of the late Judge Almeric Leander Christian, the first Virgin Islander to be appointed to the federal District Court of the Virgin Islands. Christensen earned her medical degree at George Washington University and is a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.

Dr. Robert A. Underwood represented Guam in Congress from 1993 until 2003 and served as the President of the University of Guam from 2008 until 2018. A lifelong educator, he currently serves on President Biden’s Advisory Committee on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In Congress, he served as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and was founding Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Scholarship fund. He holds degrees from the University of Southern California (Ed.D), and California State University.

 “I think people will find Congresswoman Christensen and Congressman Underwood’s insiders account on how people really talk about U.S. territories in Washington to be very interesting, ” said EA President Neil Weare. “They have both had a first-hand experience of how structural racism has impacted law and policy in the territories.”

Part I of the series, “Separate and Unequal”: The Insular Cases, Race, and Discrimination in US Territories was a virtual conversation on systemic racism and the legal foundation of America’s colonies problem with Guam Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho, DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine, Columbia Law Professor Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus, and ACLU Attorney Adriel I. Cepeda Derieux.

Part III of the series, titled Racial Equity and the Territories: What Can Philanthropy Do?, will engage leaders in the philanthropic sector in a virtual conversation about what can be done to better address racial equity issues facing residents of the US territories.  Speakers and dates will be announced in the coming weeks.