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IL:Courtney Curtis

October 31, 2014 | By | No Comments


INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Courtney Curtis

Tensions are high in Missouri right now. The unarmed shooting of African-American teen Michael Brown by a local police officer in Ferguson, Missouri has cut deep for those who live in your state and nationwide. As an elected official in Missouri, what role are you playing to ensure voices are heard in the wake of this tragic incident?

In the wake of the Ferguson tragedy, I have done things ranging from going to protest, staying out with the protesters to hear their concerns and letting them know that someone was there with them for support and not recognition. I have kept the lines of communication open with a lot of very different groups from local, to state, and federal officials as well as clergy and the protesters. Mostly I’ve listened and reacted while trying to make sure things were put in place to make sure when people are ready to start the healing process that they had somewhere or someone to turn to.

Stakes are high this mid-term election. What are you doing to mobilize Missouri residents to the polls?

We’ve been very active for several weeks trying to ensure that the people know there is an election coming, and who has there best interests at heart. Sadly neither of the candidates is an African American who you’d think would be more sympathetic to fighting for change, but that’s even more of a reason to make sure people get involved because we can’t change things if we arent’. So we’ve done everything from signs, phone calls, events, and robocalls to door knocking. People are really receptive to information these days because so many haven’t been engaged in recent history.

You’ve had a successful career in politics, what inspired you to run for office?

When I moved back to my hometown of Ferguson, there was a murder a few weeks before and after my niece was born, and I can’t remember there being a murder in 23 years of my family living in that area. That was too close to home for me, and since I have no kids or a wife, I figured I’d make things better for my niece, and family while I had all of the time and energy to do so.

What is the key to balancing your professional, philanthropic and social commitments?

I don’t know there is a balance in my life, but because I don’t have many responsibilities it doesn’t effect me too much. I just keep going. I do make sure to have fun whenever I can, but my mind is always on improving the community, and clearly we have great needs so balance can come later, there is work to do today.

What is the biggest mistake young leaders make when pursuing a career in politics?

I’d say the biggest mistake young leaders make is taking what others say as the gospel, some people are accustomed to the old fashioned way of doing things, such as paying your dues, and having someones blessing. I didn’t ask anyone, I knocked on 100 doors a day except on Sundays in 100 degree weather to make a change. I didn’t ask for people to vote for me, I said vote for the community. It worked out, where as some people would have said wait your turn, get married first, get a job etc. Sometimes you just have to do what you feel is right, if it’s meant to be, it will be.

What advice would you give other young professionals who desire to be an elected official?

Advice for young professionals with a desire to be elected may want to do some research, I read for 3 months about campaigning and strategy before I did it. Reconnect with old friends, if you aren’t independently wealthy you may need some financial or shoe leather support and friends come in handy. Make sure you are mentally prepared for what can be trying, make sure your family is ok with it, ultimately really think of the commitment you are making and if you are okay with it forge ahead. Politics is only slightly different from organization work, so having experience to draw on from being a member to leading them all comes in handy. Honestly that’s all the preparation I needed for Ferguson, and it has served me well.

What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?

I’ve had an opportunity to go places I hadn’t previously gone, I’ve been on a call with the President, I’ve toured Turkey with a Congressman from there, I’ve been to China and will be in Hong Kong in December. The people that you can meet, and the places you can go or enough, but knowing that I am having a real impact on the people that I grew up next to takes the cake. At the end of the day, my legacy won’t be where I’ve gone, but who I effected and I’ll see those people everyday and know that I fought for them.

What’s next for you in your career?

Ha, that’s not a question to ask a politician. Political answer, wherever the people will have me. In the meantime I am going to improve my district every day through my nonprofit North County Forever. Policy moves slow, and I’m still childless, and unmarried so my free time will go to moving faster than policy ever could by doing people and action oriented work in the district. My big goal is to make St. Louis the only destination for young people in the midwest, and to beat Chicago in the process. I have a lot of work to do, but anything is possible.

Lastly, give me three words to sum up Courtney Curtis.

Fearless, Passionate, Achiever

September 22, 2014 | By | No Comments

IMPACT will host and participate in a multitude of key events as part of the 44th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

We have compiled this listicle of sorts, including IMPACT-hosted events as well as events featuring IMPACT founders and IMPACT Leaders.

 RSVP for all IMPACT events at:

How can we leverage #Fergusonat the ballot box?


On September 23, 2014, IMPACT will kick off its ALC events with #HandsUpWeVote in light of National Voter Registration Day. #HandsUpWeVote is a mobilization event that discusses how we can connect the action happening in Ferguson, Missouri to sustainable civic solutions.  Another goal is to provide information and technological strategies that can increase participation for the upcoming midterm elections. We will be partnering with young leaders from the BBPV initiative (Black and Brown People Vote) to teach participants how to use technology such as memes, graphics, visuals and social media outlets to encourage voting.

Additionally, IMPACT will have a voter registration drive on site so participants can vote and select leaders who can create positive change in cities like Ferguson.  It has been nearly fifty years since the Voting Rights Act was passed, but people of color are still facing voting obstacles. Based off of IMPACT’s #VoteReady initiative, the objective is two fold: to increase voter registration and to provide community education  so that voters can continue to be politically active long after the elections are over.  It is crucial for black and brown people to take full advantage of the tools of democracy and to advocate for their communities so that lives can be improved. #HandsUpWeVote will further emphasize the need for voters to stay connected to their leaders and to diligently monitor relevant political issues affecting their communities as a whole.  Participants will also be able to hear from WKYS radio personality, EZ Street, who will discuss how to channel the outrage toward the Mike Brown case into fuel for motivation and national political action which can ultimately empower cities like Ferguson.


When: September 23 from 6:00PM-9:00PM

Location: Busboys and Poets

1025 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

*This is a free event

IMPACT National Voter Registration Day 2014 #CBCFALC14



Molding Young Leaders of Color for Success:

Emerging Leaders Town Hall

The annual Emerging Leaders Town Hall on Sept. 25th will engage African-American legislators, policy professionals, corporate executives, entertainers, and community advocates under the age of 40 in discussions about the state of affairs in Black America. This event will include two of our very own: IMPACT founder and strategist, Angela Rye, and Deon Jones, a 2014 IMPACT leader who is also the youngest elected official for DC’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC)! Additional speakers will include successful change makers such as Congressman of Steven Horsford of Nevada, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, Ledisi, and Sharon Lettman-Hicks of the National Black Justice Coalition,  just to name a few. At this Town Hall event, participants cannot only be enlightened but also leave empowered with new strategies to achieve their own personal goals.


When: Thursday, September 25, 2014 from 2:00PM-4:00PM

Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Room 201

Who: Legislators, policy professionals and community advocates

*This is a free event




Learn how to IMPACT Your World:

The Art of Social Entrepreneurship 


On Sept. 26th, the Social Entrepreneurship Panel Discussion will feature the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Alumni Association. The aim of this event is to educate and empower innovative entrepreneurs who are seeking to create positive change in their communities. Panel participants will not only discuss how to produce positive change but will also highlight the keys to maintaining lasting results for deep rooted community improvement and economic success.  Economic empowerment and community change are key IMPACT initiatives.


When: Friday, September 26, 2014 from 3:00PM-5:00PM

Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Room 145B

*This is a free event

IMP-102-Social-Entrepreneurship-Flyer-1-Revised (1)



Walker’s Legacy: 2nd Annual Women in Business and Civic Leadership Awards Program

This event will highlight and celebrate influential women of color. The Walkers Legacy will honor our very own Angela Rye, an IMPACT founder and now strategist. Angela Rye is one of the most dynamic young leaders on Capitol Hill and currently serves as the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus. It is because of the vision of Angela and our other founders that IMPACT has quickly become a powerful voice and advocate for today’s young professionals of color nationwide. Please join us in celebrating the work of young women of color and expressing our appreciation for their outstanding contributions in civic engagement, business and political leadership.


When: September 23 from 6:00PM-8:00PM


*Cost $20

Walkers Legacy



18th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the fine Arts

This event will function as a scholarship fundraiser and as a celebration. The focus will be on young emerging artists, as well as great black legends, such as actress and director Phylicia Rashad who paved the way and created opportunities for young artists of color. Join us as we bring together the young and the old for a night of leadership commemoration and entertainment.

Phylicia Rashad, Alvin Poussaint, Angela Rye

When: Wed Sept 24th from 8:00PM-10:30PM

Where: The Newseum 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

*Cost $20

Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts




Hip-Hop and Politics

This event will be hosted by Congressman Carson of Indiana and moderated by our very own Angela Rye, IMPACT founder and Strategist. This venue is geared specifically toward youth and students.  The key goals of the event are to empower the youth and equip them with the tools necessary to promote political activism and awareness in their schools and communities.


Who: Founder and CEO of Black Girls Rock, Beverly Bond and hip hop artist Rakim

When:  September 26 1:30PM-3:30PM

Where: Walter E Convention Center RM147B

*This is a free event

Hip Hop and Politics

02 Mar


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Hello world!

March 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

27 Dec


MLK Day Of Service 2014

December 27, 2013 | By |


This MLK Weekend, IMPACT will continue the tradition of honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service.

This year,  you have two opportunities to serve!


1) MLK Memorial Beautification Project : Hands on project at the MLK Memorial. ( January 18, 2014)

2) MLK Pro Bono Dream Lab: Pro bono consulting for non-profit organizations continuing the work Dr. King lived for. (January 20, 2014)


Get more info and sign up below! We look forward to joining you in honoring Dr. King and making a positive IMPACT on our community!

20 Sep


September 20, 2013 | By |

#ThatAfterParty Registration Is Closed

Only properly credentialed invited guests will be admitted

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07 Aug


August 7, 2013 | By |

31 Jul


Winners of the “2013 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” Honored at National Bar Association Jazz Brunch

July 31, 2013 | By |


WASHINGTON, D.C. –  IMPACT and the National Bar Association (NBA) honored the “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” at a special awards gala on Saturday, July 27, 2013 during NBA’s 88th Annual Convention in Miami, Florida.

Nation’s Best Advocates recognizes talented individuals (age 40 and under) within the African American legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction, professionally and philanthropically. Selected nominees represent a cross-section of legal professionals: solo practitioners, government lawyers, judges, academicians, corporate counsels, young elected officials, and other lawyers using their degree in innovative ways. Nominees were chosen based on their achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal community involvement.

“The NBA is proud to partner again with IMPACT for this year’s 40 Lawyers Under 40 event. We applaud the awardees for their significant accomplishments and contributions towards the legal profession and community,” said John Page, NBA President.  “We look forward to honoring these awardees during our 88th Annual Convention in Miami and most importantly, we look forward to sustaining our mission of service and ensuring that justice is achieved by all.”

“The 2013 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 are continuing the tradition of legal giants in American history,” said IMPACT Director Angela Rye. “The invaluable contributions made by these attorneys establish a standard for service and excellence in our communities and our Nation.”

The recipients of the Nation’s Best Advocate of the Year, Excellence in Leadership, Service, Activism, and Innovation awards will be recognized at the event, which is the only of its kind. For more information, visit:

The winners included:

2013 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40

  • Barbara J. Walker, Associate, Parks & Crump, LLC
  • Breon C.M. Walker, Partner, Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA.
  • Candice S. Petty, Corporate Counsel, 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc.
  • Carlos Leach, Partner, Morgan and Morgan, PA
  • Cassandra Georges, Mediator & Arbitrator, Above and Beyond Dispute Resolution, LLC
  • Chigozie Onyema, Policy Analyst, Council of State Governments Justice Center
  • Craig A. A. Dixon, Assistant Vice President, Senior Counsel and Assistant Secretary, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
  • Dannelle F. Walker, General Counsel, Tennessee State Board of Education
  • Edward “Ted” James, II, State Representative, District 101, Louisiana House of Representatives
  • Ekumene M. Lysonge, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Churchill Downs Incorporated.
  • Evangeline M. Mitchell, Principal, Persistence of Vision LLC/Founder & Executive Director, National Black Pre-Law  Conference and Law Fair
  • Harmon “Monty” Cooper, Associate, Sedgwick, LLP
  • JaDawnya Butler, Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney, Fulton County, GA
  • JaRai A. Williams, Appellate Defense Counsel, United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps
  • Jasmine Rand, Associate, Parks and Crump, LLC
  • Justin Fairfax, Justin Fairfax for Virginia
  • Kristal Lauren High , Editor and Chief Politic365
  • Lacy L. Durham, Tax Manager, Deloitte Tax, LLP
  • LaKeisha C. Marsh, Associate Vice President and Counsel, TCS Education System
  • Lashonda Council Rogers, Managing Attorney, Council & Associates, LLC
  • Lynnette D. Espy-Williams, Partner, Cozen O’Connor
  • Malaika Clements Billups, Associate, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP
  • Marie E. Giraud, Associate, Morrison Mahoney
  • Michelle N. Lipkowitz, Partner, Saul Ewing, LLP
  • Monica D. Barnes, Assistant City Attorney, City of Miami Gardens, FL
  • Monique Liburd, Associate Trademark Counsel, Google Inc.
  • Nichole Francis Reynolds, Chief of Staff, Congresswoman Terri Sewell
  • Nicole Isaac, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, The White House
  • Radiance Harris, Associate, DLA Piper
  • Rashida MacMurray-Abdullah, Core Forensic & Dispute Services Manager, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services
  • Reginald Roberts, Jr., Co-Managing Partner, Sanders Roberts, LLP
  • Rhonda Peoples-Waters, President/CEO, Rhonda Peoples-Waters-PA
  • Shontavia Jackson Johnson, Owner, Johnson International Group, Assistant Professor of Law, Drake University Law School
  • Tanya Bullock, Judge, Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
  • Tara D. Elliott, Principal, Fish & Richardson, PC
  • Tashinda Glover Richardson, Legal Assistance Counsel and Special Assistant US Attorney, US Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps
  • Valyncia Simmons, Partner, Baker Williams Matthiesen LLP
  • W. Dewayne Richardson, District Attorney, Fourth Judicial District of Mississippi
  • Wade Hinton, City Attorney, City of Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Zulema Green, Regional Managing Attorney, Portfolio Recovery Associates


Additionally, IMPACT and the NBA honored five individuals with awards for Advocate of the Year, Excellence in Leadership, Activism, Innovation, and Service.


  1. Advocate of the Year: Barbara J. Walker
  2. Excellence in Leadership: Lynnette D. Espy-Williams
  3. Excellence in Activism: Jasmine Rand
  4. Excellence in Innovation: Monique Liburd
  5. Excellence in Service: Malaika Clements Billups

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African American attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit


18 Jul


IMPACT Statement on Nelson Mandela International Day

July 18, 2013 | By |

– IMPACT released the following statement recognizing the fifth annual Nelson Mandela International Day:

“Today, IMPACT celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day by honoring Madiba’s life and service on his 95th birthday. We pay respect to Mr. Mandela’s 67 years of fighting for the rights of all people. We can all pay tribute to his legacy by working to achieve peace and reconciliation in our daily lives and with those in our communities.

“IMPACT joins our diasporan family in South Africa, and everyone around the world, in recognizing a hero and icon of our time. Thank you, Mr. Mandela, for continuing to speak truth to power.”


02 Jul


IMPACT Statement on the Passing of Former Congressman William H. Gray

July 2, 2013 | By |

WASHINGTON, DC – IMPACT released the following statement on the passing of former Majority Whip and Congressional Black Caucus Member William H. Gray:

“Today, we mourn the loss of former Rep. William (Bill) H. Gray (D-Pa.), the first African-American to chair the House Budget Committee and the first to serve as majority whip.

“A true leader and public servant, Rep. Gray represented the city of Philadelphia in the House of Representatives for six terms. He was also a trailblazer in the congressional fight for anti-apartheid sanctions on South Africa. He resigned from Congress in 1991 to serve as the president of the United Negro College Fund.

“Rep. Gray’s life and deeds serve as an example of political involvement, economic empowerment, and civic engagement. He was a dedicated advocate in every sense of the word.

“IMPACT is grateful for the tremendous example set by Rep. Gray, particularly in the way he shared his legacy with his children. His son, Justin, is a avid supporter of IMPACT’s mission and efforts and exemplifies his father’s lifelong commitment to justice for all.

“Our condolences and prayers go out to the family of former Rep. Bill Gray. He will be missed.”


02 Jul


IMPACT’s #VoteReady Report to be Unveiled at Esri International User Conference

July 2, 2013 | By |

African American voter access: Reduced opportunity for political inclusion

Marcus Coleman, Ph.D., IMPACT Research Fellow

San Diego, Calif. –  On Thursday, July 11, 2013, IMPACT Research Fellow Marcus J.Coleman, Ph.D. will present IMPACT’s 2012 Presidential Election Report titled, “African American Voter Access: Reduced Opportunity for Political Inclusion,” at the Esri International User Conference at the San Diego Convention Center in California.

As part of its #VoteReady campaign, IMPACT released its 2012 year-end report on the organization’s efforts to combat voter suppression and guarantee ballot access for young professionals of color during this past election cycle. With a national #VoteReady social media campaign, research fellow, and college/university participation, IMPACT was able to highlight voter disenfranchisement as well as voter access laws and how they affected African Americans during the 2012 Presidential Election Race.

IMPACT is proud to announce this report will be presented during the conference, which engages world governments, industry leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organizations. The findings in IMPACT’s report will be presented by Dr. Coleman via computer mediated communication at the Session: GIS in Elections in Room 24 A between 3:15- 4:30 p.m. on July 11, 2013.

Additionally, Esri will have an online discussion via Facebook and Twitter. As an organization, Esri inspires and enables people to positively impact the future through a deeper, geographic understanding of the changing world around them.

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit