Council on Communities of Color

The Council on Communities of Color (CCC) is CSG’s only self-identified member committee that provides a forum for state decision-makers to examine the unique challenges facing historically distressed and marginalized Black, Brown, Indigenous and Asian-Pacific Islander populations of color (also referenced as “BIPOC” communities).

Based in CSG’s Eastern Region (CSG East), the CCC explores a wide range of issues intended to promote equitable, improved, and sustainable public policy outcomes that enhance the quality of life for people of color and the communities in which they live. The purpose is to help achieve a diverse and inclusive governance model.


State-level policymakers who are members of the CSG East are automatically members and participants in the CCC. In addition, the CCC offers opportunities for policymakers originating from or representing BIPOC communities to participate in a number of special activities, initiatives and events, with the CCC’s lead consultant and team facilitating:

  • Media visibility opportunities for policymakers
  • Participation in both on-site and virtual panels and discussion on relevant topics
  • Research and writing support for legislators
  • Assignment of CCC student interns and fellows
  • Partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)
  • Participation of BIPOC-community state legislators in other CSG East committees
  • Learning from, connection to and partnership with legislators in other CSG regions on relevant issues

Stay tuned for more special activities and events on the horizon. We look forward to hearing from you!

Committee Leadership

Headshot Kevin Parker
Kevin Parker
Senator, New York
Kevin S. Parker is a Ne York State Senator serving the 21st Senatorial District in Brooklyn. A lifelong Brooklyn resident, Senator Parker has been a Flatbush resident for more than 31 years. Elected to the New York State Senate in
2002, Senator Parker’s professional background reflects a wide range of public service including years spent as the Special Assistant to former New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, a New York City Urban Fellow, Project Manager with the New York State Urban Development Corporation, and legislative aide. Senator Parker has also taught at several CUNY and SUNY campuses as well as Brooklyn College, where he teaches a majority of his classes and is a faculty advisor to student organizations and activities. At Penn State, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Service, Senator Parker organized students for racial justice and encouraged diversity at the University. Parker is also a member of the Alpha Chapter of the Pi Eta Honor Society.
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Headshot of Joseline Pena-Melnyk
Joseline Peña-Melnyk
Delegate, Maryland
Joseline Peña-Melnyk has represented Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties as state delegate for over a decade. After she got her law degree, Peña-Melnyk took court appointments to represent abused and neglected children, and to provide criminal defense for the
poor. Later she joined Eric Holder’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and prosecuted criminals, building cases by working closely with police officers, witnesses, and victims in the community. Her committee in the House deals with public health and she has made great strides to improve the healthcare system by making it more efficient and in line with the needs of everyday Marylanders. Her legislation to digitize medical records is improving health care delivery and lowering costs. She has also moved many bills into law dealing with women’s and children’s health, including bills on family planning, mammograms, childhood obesity and suicide prevention.
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For more information on the Council on Communities of Color, please contact staff liaison

Charles Ellison, policy consultant
direct: 301.526.2239