Tuesday , July 14, 2020
Roy Charles Brooks
Rodney Ellis
Dr. Helen Holton
Executive Director
Over the last several months, county leadership has been tasked with enormous challenges. As
we were focused on responding to the global pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting
African Americans, we also found ourselves steeped in the raw and naked truth of who we are
as a nation. The tragic death of George Floyd was the tipping point into the deeper wounds of
our society – police brutality, systemic racism, and the oppressive and hateful actions of
unconscious bias.

Our communities are saying enough is enough and demanding real changes. As leaders of this
nation’s counties, we are the ones charged to be the light as we look for solutions that our
constituents and communities need, and definitely deserve.

We implore you to continue the excellent work in assisting people who are hurting during
COVID-19. Testing and proper medical care are still needed to make sure those who are sick
recover and those who are in fear of contracting it can be reassured through free or affordable
testing. For those hurting financially, we must continue to fight for local relief funds to help
people maintain basic needs of life like food, shelter and healthcare.

The movement for social justice has been reignited. We’ve always known that Black Lives
Matter. It seems the rest of the world is finally recognizing that racism and discrimination have
always existed, and the equality that was promised was never delivered. With criminal justice
reform cries echoing around the globe, momentum has shifted to our side. People of different
races, religions, ages and socio-economic backgrounds are supporting this journey into equal
justice. That’s why our leadership is needed now more than ever.

On the local levels, we must get our governmental bodies to approve criminal justice reform measures that protect all people – especially people of color. We can no longer allow an oppressive system continue to let criminal injustice be the answer to poverty, homelessness and mental health.

In essence, each one of us must re-energize ourselves and our staffs to lead the changes that
will save lives and empower people. This great organization is only as strong as its members.
Your Herculean efforts – which have never stopped despite a global pandemic – are holding up
the people we serve. Thank you!
Interview with County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey

A historical moment is about to happen soon at NACo. A Black woman is about to become the second vice president, which has not happened since 1976. We want to congratulate County Board Speaker, Denise Winfrey, from Will County, Illinois. To commemorate this moment, NOBCO interviewed Speaker Winfrey to gain more insight on who she is and her why.

What did you do before becoming a county official for NACo?
-           I retired from the corporate world, and got into township governments. Not long after I moved into county government. I have been a county official and a member for NACo for 11 years now. I joined because I wanted to be able to be more involved in giving back to my community.

What has been your favorite project you've worked on?
-           I belong to my local chapter of National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW, Inc.), a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1974 during the Fourth Congressional Black Caucus Legislative weekend to address the needs of Black women and children. I wrote a program called, “Passport for Success” about 12 or 13 years ago. This program allows us to bring together Black women and children a couple of times a month and expose them to successful career-oriented women. This is a wonderful way we’ve been able to get them involved in the workplace and help them be successful now and in the future. It has expanded into a much bigger initiative than conceived. Today it includes a free, after-school STEM program, which is led by a young Black entrepreneur. I'm really excited about the way it has rippled out into more.

What was it about NACo that made you want to join the organization?
-           A seat mate of mine recommended that I join NACo because of how they impact counties across the country. I attended my first NACo annual conference in July of 2009, and from there it’s history.

You have been a county official for 11 years, what made you run to be the second vice president?
-           It seemed like a natural progression. I have served in a lot of capacities during my time at NACo. I’ve served as Vice Chair of Community, Economic, and Workforce Development Steering Committee along with Vice Chair of the Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC). Being an active member of Women of NACo (WON) and the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO) has also helped me navigate leadership opportunities within NACo. I’ve not ever served on NACo’s Board of Directors, however I will in a short while. The fact that no woman of color has served as NACo second vice president since 1976, I thought it was time.

What challenges have you encountered along the way in your campaign to become NACo’s second vice president?
-           The biggest hurdle I faced was convincing people that we did not have to wait three years to have another person of color run for NACo’s executive committee. I don’t believe in that model. I believe that if a person is willing and qualified then they should run, regardless of race or ethnicity. Once, I got people on my side, it was smooth sailing from there.

How does it feel to be the second Black woman in NACo's history, since 1935, to be in position for the presidency?
-           I am just over the moon. Even though I know it is real, it still seems unbelievable. I wish my parents were here to see it. They would have wanted to see what I have done and what I want to to do. The work I am doing would have been important to them.

How are you hoping to expand the organization with new ideas?
-           My platform is inclusion, and that is not to say that NACo doesn’t work on it. However, I want inclusion to be from the mindset of who I am as a woman of color and not who NACo is. I want to be able to bring all the minority groups to the table and work with them to get their needs addressed. I prefer not to rely on what I feel they need or want. If we can do this, then we’ll know we have put forth our best effort.
Interview by Written by Kaitlyn "Charlie" Gullet, NOBCO Intern
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
“Voting, Black Communities, and the Next Stimulus"

On July 9 th , the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, hosted a webinar titled “Voting, Black Communities, and the Next Stimulus.” Congresswoman Marcia Fudge from the 11 th district of Ohio, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation CEO Melanie Campbell, and Colorado Division of Elections Director Judd Choate were part of this discussion.

The webinar discussed how to make in-person voting safe for voters and poll workers. If we are able to increase the number of polling places, not only are we able to keep it safer by distributing the people across a building or central spread out location like an arena with multiple points of entry, adequate parking, and ways to adhere to physical distancing. The goal is to foster an environment that encourages a greater turnout of voters. When voters are limited by where they are able to go for voting, it decreases the appeal, especially for black voters.

Now, this next stimulus package, HEROES Act, will allocate $3.6 billion to increase polling locations and let states get new equipment, to name a few. This election year is extremely important, and could mean life or death for people in the black, brown, and poor communities. Another key talking point, were the different options people have in order to vote. Traditionally, there is live voting with absentee voting with those who aren’t able to vote in person. Given the pandemic and safety, vote-by-mail has become a viable option for many people. The respondents brought up voting-by-mail fraud and how it happens less frequently because there are more protocols in place to address fraud.

One interesting point, is the need for poll workers who know how to effectively use technology. Election officials may be more inclined to hire high school and college students, or young adults as poll workers because they may have better knowledge and use of technology. This plan is interesting because it could increase the turnout of younger voters showing up at the polls. This measure can alienate the more seasoned poll worker that’s accustomed to the way we used to manage the voting process. A perceived advantage of younger election workers is the potential of an increased awareness of the importance of voting to spread on social media to their peers representing the emerging generation of leadership. It may spark a fresh incentive, reminder, and encouragement for ALL people to get out and vote.

Overall, this webinar was informative on what we need to focus on to make this election year one with turnout like never before in the safest and most accessible way.

Written by Kaitlyn "Charlie" Gullet, NOBCO Intern
The Deadline To Apply For ViiV Healthcare's Positive Action Community Grants is this Wednesday, July 15!

As part of ViiV Healthcare’s ongoing commitment to supporting community organizations that work to address HIV/AIDS disparities in the U.S. and close gaps in care for those most affected, we are excited to announce that the Positive Action Community Grants 2020 funding cycle for organizations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico is currently open. Proposals will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until July 15.

For more information about the Positive Action Community Grants program and submission process, please visit the Community Grants webpages below

Click here to directly access the registration and online portal:

With thanks for all of your work in the fight against HIV/AIDS,

ViiV Healthcare Community Grants Team