Our Mission

A disproportionate number of black women are represented within statistics related to poverty, and lack access to economic and educational opportunity. The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) is devoted to advancing, securing, and protecting the rights of these women. Constantly, the women of BWA strive to acquire greater understanding and cooperation about issues that affect all women and their families, while searching for new knowledge and new conceptualizations about said problems. Through the establishment of social priorities (an agenda), BWA facilitates discussions that lead to effective policies and meaningful change. Their continuous vigilance on issues affecting Black women worldwide empower women to step up and mitigate the gender gaps that affect women in our society.

What We Do

In order to accomplish its mission, BWA:

  • Conducts continuing assessments of the status and roles of Black women.
  • Recommends data-based public policy changes which would enhance the status of Black women.
  • Convenes an annual Workshop and Recognition Luncheon in Washington, DC.
  • Educates the public through workshops and other mechanisms about the economic, social, and civil liberties issues relevant to the needs and status of Black women.
  • Publishes at regular intervals newsletters, reports, Congressional “alerts”, and issue papers.
  • Facilitates collaborative relationships with and among many national Black women’s organizations.

BWA History

The Black Women’s Agenda was founded in 1977 in Washington, DC. It evolved from the work of ten courageous women who responded to an urgent call to recognize and articulate the needs of Black women within the then emerging women’s movement, by developing a Black Women’s Action Plan for the International Women’s Year (IWY) Conference held in Houston, Texas in November, 1977. The Action Plan, enthusiastically embraced by the Black delegates to the Conference, subsequently became the basis for the resolution on the rights of minority women, which was adopted overwhelmingly by the 2,000 conference delegates.

Building on the momentum of the IWY Conference, the ten women formed BWA as an active organization in the Nation’s capital to implement the recommendations in the Black Women’s Action Plan. In September, 1979, the leaders of forty-three Black women’s organizations met with the ten founders and pledged their support for the mission and program of the Black Women’s Action Plan, dedication to education, advancing, and supporting progressive measures for Black women. In June 1979, BWA conducted its first issues workshop on Capitol Hill. Since that date, it has conducted an array of activities, including town meetings for citizen dialogue with U.S. Presidential candidates, and a popular issues workshop and luncheon held annually in Washington, DC in conjunction with the Congress.

Board of Directors

Gwainevere Catchings Hess
– President

Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D.
– VP for Administration

Mary E.N. Clark
– VP for Programs

Gladys Gary Vaughn, Ph.D.
– VP for Legislative Affairs

Anna Russell Mora
– Recording Secretary

Penny Hartsfield White
– Treasurer

Dawna Michelle Fields
– Public Information Officer

Gina Adams. Esq.
Vanita Banks, Esq.
Adell Batchelor Walker
Margaret Batchelor-White, Ph.D.* Mattie Beckham*
Faith Blackburne Proctor
Karen Ragland Cole, MD
Rosalind Denning
Delores Kennedy-Williams
Toyce Newton
Vivian Rogers Pickard
Anne S. Pruitt-Logan, Ph.D.
Connie Speights Richardson
Leigh Adams Slaughter, Esq. Roslyn L. Smith
Roxane Whitter
Wendy Winters, Ph.D.*
Sonjia Young*

*Denotes Emeritae Members



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