New York City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams


Jumaane D. Williams
District 45 – Council Member – Democrat
Chair – Committee on Housing and Buildings
Entered City Council: 01/01/2010
Re-elected: 11/05/2013
Represents: Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, parts of Midwood and Canarsie
Council Member Williams is co-chair of the Gun Violence Task Force, a member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and a founding member of the Progressive Caucus.

Background Information
New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) represents the people of the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, having originally been elected in 2009, and re-elected in 2013. Williams serves as Deputy Leader of the New York City Council, and chair of the council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings. Williams is co-chair of the council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, a co-founding member of the Progressive Caucus, and a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

Council Member Williams, is a first-generation Brooklynite of West Indian parentage and a proud product of our city’s public school system, including the Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented and Brooklyn Technical High School. It was while earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Brooklyn College that Jumaane realized civic engagement and community empowerment would be his professional focus. He received a Master’s Degree, also from Brooklyn College, in Urban Policy and Administration. While there, he served as Graduate Student Body President.

Immediately after college, Jumaane was hired as the assistant director for the Greater Flatbush Beacon School where he provided leadership for its first successful summer. Subsequently, he became the interim executive director of East Flatbush Community Development Corporation. As a community organizer, Jumaane worked in the buildings of Vanderveer Estates, now known as Flatbush Gardens, and successfully secured city funding for a new youth program. He continued fighting for affordable housing as the Housing Director for the Flatbush Development Corporation, where he reconstituted a defunct housing program. Jumaane then became the Executive Director of the New York State Tenants & Neighbors, a statewide organization that stands for tenants’ rights and affordable housing through organizing and advocacy.

District Office Address
4517 Avenue D Brooklyn, NY 11203
District Office Phone
District Office Fax
Legislative Office Address
250 Broadway Suite 1754 New York, NY 10007
Legislative Office Phone
Legislative Office Fax

Read more Jumanne Williams Official Website


Mel Watt Lowers Mortgage Down Payment Requirement


Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

“Every American lives in safe, decent, affordable and energy efficient housing on fair terms.” National Urban League 2025 housing empowerment goal

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt is taking action to turn the American dream of homeownership into reality for many more people. Director Watt recently announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which he regulates and which are linchpins of the nation’s residential mortgage market, will reduce down payment requirements from 5 percent to 3 percent. This will enable many more low-income, but credit-worthy, consumers to become homeowners while helping the nation’s faltering housing market regain its traction.

We enthusiastically applaud this move and believe that as a result, more African American, Latino and working class borrowers of all races, who face an especially tough time securing mortgages, will have greater access to conventional loans, which are more affordable than other financing options. We are also encouraged that Director Watt’s plan will allow housing counseling in lieu of costly mortgage insurance to be a compensating factor to help make up for low down payments or low credit scores.

Saving the necessary down payment to purchase a home is one of the biggest obstacles to attaining the American Dream, especially for communities of color. African Americans and Latinos typically have lower incomes and are less likely to receive an inheritance or first-time buying help from their parents than white Americans. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, while it takes the typical white family 14 years to save for a 5 percent down payment, plus closing costs, it takes the typical Latino family 17 years and the typical African American family 21 years to save those amounts.

The National Urban League has long supported a reasonable and affordable “skin in the game” down payment requirement, but the ability to save a lump sum of money does not translate to the ability to pay a monthly mortgage. As Director Watt said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing recently, “The problem is that the down payment itself is not necessarily a reliable indicator of whether somebody will pay a loan. If they have good credit, if they have housing counseling… and know how to be responsible homeowners — those can mitigate the perceived increased risk.”

Forty years of National Urban League housing counseling experience and independent research indicate that borrowers who receive housing counseling services are one-third less likely to be seriously delinquent on their mortgage than non-counseled borrowers. We have seen first-hand how housing counseling benefits borrowers, lenders, Fannie and Freddie, and communities. Nearly 50 of the National Urban League’s 95 affiliates provide home buyer education to ensure communities of color are well-informed of their housing rights and options. Since 2008, we have provided pre-and-post purchase counseling to nearly 180,000 clients.

Director Watt has been rolling out this policy for several months. On October 20, he told the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Meeting, “To increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers, FHFA is also working with the Enterprises [Fannie and Freddie] to develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97 percent. Through these revised guidelines, we believe that the Enterprises will be able to responsibly serve a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers with lower-down payment mortgages by taking into account compensating factors. It is yet another much needed piece to the broader-access-to-credit puzzle.”

Director Watt recognizes that low down payments did not cause the housing crisis, but that irresponsible products and predatory lending did. Lowering Fannie and Freddie down payment requirements will allow tens of thousands of African Americans, Latinos and working class Americans to purchase lower cost mortgages and become homeowners. That is good for our communities and good for America.


The Startup Making Money on 30B Online Ads Each Day

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) — Online advertising is the bread and butter of the internet and New York-based startup Appnexus is serving as its middleman. CEO Brian O’Kelley discusses the business with Bloomberg’s Alex Barinka at the company’s Manhattan headquarters as part of the “New Hack City” series.

See the VIDEO

Middle East Congress 2015


H.E. Hussein Rasheed Jamal al-Kaf
Oil & Minerals Minister YEMEN

H.E. Reem Al-Hashimi
MD WORLD EXPO 2020 & Minister of State

Middle East Congress
Investment in world-class infrastructure will play a critical factor in supporting change across the Middle East. The Middle East Congress will bring together business leaders and key figures from government to explore how the international community can nurture an economic revival across the region.


Jay Williams: U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development



U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Jay Williams was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and was sworn into office on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

As the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), Williams is charged with leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy.

Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Jay served as the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. In this capacity, he worked directly with state and local stakeholders in areas affected by the changing American automotive industry to deliver federal support to ensure they returned to better economic condition.

He also served in the White House as Deputy Director for the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this position, he led efforts to engage mayors, city council members, and county officials around the country.

Williams served as the Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio from 2006 to August 1, 2011. During his tenure as Mayor of Youngstown, Williams led efforts that had a direct impact on improving the quality of life for the citizens of Youngstown.

Williams is the recipient of the 2007 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award. The JFK Library Foundation, in conjunction with the Harvard University Institute of Politics, annually recognizes two exceptional young Americans- under the age of 40, whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and value of public service in the spirit of President John F. Kennedy.

Prior to being elected, Williams spent five years as the Director of Community Development for the city. Before transitioning into public service, Williams enjoyed a distinguished career in banking, which included stints at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and First Place Bank, as a vice president.

Assistant Secretary Williams was born and raised in Youngstown. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a B.S.B.A., majoring in finance.


United States Department of Transportation – Departmental Office of Civil Rights


Camille M. Hazeur, an experienced professional with an impressive record of accomplishment regarding issues of equity and diversity, was appointed Director, Departmental Office of Civil Rights, Office of the Secretary, U. S. Department of Transportation in October 2009. In this capacity, Camille is the designated advisor to the Secretary of Transportation on civil rights matters. In addition, she provides leadership, policy, guidance, monitoring, and technical assistance to the Department’s Heads of Operating Administrations in implementing departmental civil rights responsibilities.

Before returning to Washington in October 2009, Camille served for over a year as Director of Affirmative Action and Manager of Institutional Diversity Projects at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Prior to going to Bates, Camille served at George Mason University for five years as Assistant to the President and Director of Equity and Diversity Services. Since 2000, Camille has served as Consultant to the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) on the Building Engagement and Attainment for Minority Students (BEAMS). Project to provide support to more than 100 four-year Historically Black, Hispanic-Serving, and Tribally-controlled institutions. She has spent the past three decades in the public and private sectors serving at two- and four-year colleges and universities.

Camille earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Dunbarton College of Holy Cross in Washington, DC and a Master of Arts in Post-secondary Education from Xavier University of Louisiana. Early in her professional career, she began working with issues of equity after observing how race, class, gender, ethnicity, and other issues of difference affected teaching and learning. Inspired by her interest in helping people negotiate differences, Camille applied for and won an award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to develop A CHANGE MODEL©, a long-term group facilitation program that provides faculty, staff and/or students with the opportunity to confront problems and forge solutions inherent in diverse communities. Camille focused, too, on deepening an understanding of the connection between diversity and excellence.

A second FIPSE grant awarded in 1989 enabled Camille and a colleague to produce a video series to accompany the Change Model© program, seen now by over 100 faculty and staff at the University of Tennessee (UT). For a decade at UT, she provided campus-wide leadership on issues related to race, gender, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, and other differences. Subsequently, Camille returned to student affairs as Dean of Students at Trinity University in Washington, DC. After three years as Dean, she re-focused her professional attention to issues related to equity and diversity in positions at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and at the Association of Research Libraries.

In 2003, she assumed the position of Director of Equity and Diversity at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia where she monitored the University’s continuing commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity in its employment and educational practices.

She developed and implemented programs through education, training, and complaint resolution to ensure that members of the campus community understand their rights and responsibilities to learn and work in an environment free from discrimination. Working collaboratively, with other campus entities and the surrounding community, she provided leadership to create, design, and disseminate programs that bring diverse people together for the purpose of learning about and from one another, sharing experiences and ideas.

Camille attributes her respect for humanity and passion for issues of differences to her experience as a native of Mobile, Alabama who grew up during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Through her studies of Anthropology, she was drawn to the complexities of culture and culture-making. Camille comes to the Department capable of advancing the Obama Administration’s commitment to access and equity, as well as to the Department’s goals of enhancing diversity and inclusiveness.

Petition: Mike Brown Law. Requires all state, county, and local police to wear a camera.

Mike Brown Law. Requires all state, county, and local police to wear a camera.

Create a bill, sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state,county, and local police, to wear a camera. Due to the latest accounts of deadly encounters with police, We the People, petition for the Mike Brown Law. Create a bill, sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state,county, and local police, to wear a camera.The law shall be made in an effort to not only detour police misconduct(i.e. brutality, profiling, abuse of power), but to ensure that all police are following procedure, and to remove all question, from normally questionable police encounters. As well, as help to hold all parties within a police investigation, accountable for their actions.

Sign the Petition

Reps. John Conyers, Lacy Clay, and Marcia Fudge call on Department of Justice to Investigate the Death of Michael Brown


WASHINGTON – Following the tragic killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers Jr. (MI-13), Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01) and Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) issued a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to formally investigate the shooting. The full text of the letter is below:

See the Letter

Letter-8_11_14- DOJ Inquiry Into Michael Brown Death (1) 2_Page_1

How To Build A Multi Million Dollar Online Business In Nigeria


How did a 30-year old Nigerian and a Ghanaian – Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor – grow their local e-commerce startup into a multimillion dollar company in less than year?

VENTURES AFRICA – I was chatting with a colleague, as we drove to Jumia’s Lagos corporate office, when he asked rhetorically: “Why would JP Morgan be so interested in a 5 month old Nigerian startup as to invest millions in it?” Well, I was eager to know too.

Africa, home to six of the world’s fastest growing economies, has caught the entrepreneurial bug but an ubiquitous lack of funds has kept its entrepreneurs from marching. Minutes into meeting Jumia co-founder Tunde Kehinde, he would have me know having an amazing powerpoint business plan isn’t the key to investor funds.

“With the little crowd funding you can get, test your business concept and prove it makes money,” he tells me. “That way you become irresistible for investors.”

His partner, Raphael Afaedor chips in: “We had to quit our jobs and put all our effort in what we believed. Often, working 16 hours a day, sometimes more.”

Raphael was laid back, but spoke with rare speed. Spitting an average of 3 words per second, he would give Eminem a run for his money. His business-like countenance, tucked-in white office shirt and black trousers, made him look like the boss at the Jumia office.

Tunde on the other hand, with the rest of the Jumia team appeared youthful and casual.

At the online retailer’s office, dozens of under-30 year olds carrying Jumia tags could be seen in jeans and sneakers or fashionable clothing. Self expression is uninhibited, ideas are encouraged. It’s the kind of place a millennial would love to work. It isn’t the conventional Nigerian work setting – for a second, I thought I was in some sort of Google workspace.

Hanging on the walls at the lobby are two aluminium frames. One reads: “Best People for the Best Team.” The other, a sort of guideline for interaction between the staff, reads: “Challenge ideas but Respect everyone.”

When Raphael and Tunde first conceived the idea of building an enduring online ‘shopping mall’ for the Nigerian market, they had never met. Raphael was Head of Marketing and Sales (West, Central & North Africa) with Notore Chemical Industries while Tunde Kehinde was in the UK assisting alcoholic beverage multinational Diageo, to acquire valuable African brands. Both had also studied at Harvard Business School (and Tunde had tried his hands on, a dating site for young African professionals) so they had received some training for their impending entrepreneurial pursuit.


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