The newly sworn-in president of the Congressional Black Associates says he will “fight tooth and nail” for more minority staffers on Capitol Hill.
“We want to keep adding pressure,” said Lewis Myers, 31. “This is a subject matter that has been discussed and debated for years — I would almost argue decades. And what are the results?”
Myers said that if results aren’t seen or there’s no data to track them, then “we need to develop and think of new mechanisms to create what we’re yearning for, which is to get … minorities on payroll … not only in the Senate but in the House.”
Myers is the scheduler and office manager for Ohio Democrat Marcia L. Fudge. She’s the organization’s new congressional sponsor.
“We will not move one inch on diversity because we think it’s massively important and it’s not just African-American,” Myers said. “We’re going to continue to apply as much pressure as we can to get some reasonable change.”
The CBA is working with other staff associations to have a cohesive message.
And it has teamed up with organizations off the Hill, such as the National Urban League. The league and the CBA co-hosted a panel in January.
Myers has worked for Fudge for two and a half years. He started on the Hill in 2012 as the special assistant to the chief of staff in West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III’s office.
He met his mentor in the Senate.
“I would like to credit a lot of my success to Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black,” he said. Myers said Black played a key role, “not only spiritually, but vocationally.”
Myers has attended Black’s spiritual mentoring classes and Friday Bible studies.
“He’s just been a light to my life and I cannot look at my success without looking back at the people who helped get me there,” he said. “And if it weren’t for him, Sen. Manchin and Congresswoman Fudge, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Myers was elected as president on Dec. 16 and assumed the role at the start of the year. He succeeds Reggie McCrimmon.
He previously served as the CBA’s treasurer and member coordinator.
“My mission for 2017 is members,” he said. “[Our] goal should be to enhance membership through education, stimulating conversation, workshops and professional development.”
The CBA had 150 members last year.
“I’ve made an ambitious goal for our membership coordinator this year — for 300 — so I would like to have him double what we had last year,” Myers said. “That’s the aggressive nature that we have.”
Another goal is to do more community service at food banks and animal shelters in D.C. He wants his committee chairmen to come up with at least one event a month.
“That’s more than double in the past,” he said. “It’s really no excuse why once a month we can’t dedicate a couple [of] hours to an organization off campus. We want to engage people outside of the Hill and expand CBA’s brand.”
Myers added, “We want to be a shining beacon or a trailblazer, if you will, on how to create, cultivate and develop off the Hill so that there’s reciprocity with our members and those organizations.”
Myers is hosting his first meeting on Friday. And on Feb. 16, the CBA has its annual Trailblazers Awards. Also this month, there’s Black History Month trivia night and a tour of Northrop Grumman as an association.
The CBA will have a professional development panel for résumé reviews in March.
“It’s kind of like a training day,” he said. “How can we cultivate and develop our members so that they’re growing?”