BWA 42ND ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM
VOCAL, VISIBLE, AND VIGILANT: THE BLACK WOMEN’S AGENDA, INC. HOSTS 42ND ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM TOWN HALL & AWARDS LUNCHEON ENCOURAGING WOMEN TO MAKE THEIR PRESENCE FELT IN WASHINGTON & LOCAL COMMUNITIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday, September 13, 2019 – Six months away from the first 2020 presidential primaries and caucuses, The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) hosted its 42nd Annual Symposium Town Hall and Awards Luncheon, encouraging the nearly 1,800 attendees to flex their political muscle and to help usher in the changes that they want to see in their communities and across the nation.
“A wise woman once said, ‘there is no power greater than a community that knows what it cares about,’” BWA President Gwainevere Catchings Hess said offering welcome remarks. “It’s up to us to make sure that the presidential candidates understand and align themselves with our positions on issues that impact Black women, our families, and the neighborhoods where we live.”
Joy-Ann Reid, host of MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” moderated the Town Hall, sharing the stage with a panel of journalists, political commentators, and other experts who encouraged participants to live their best lives by giving voice to the issues that are important to them and exacting promises for their support. The panelists included Keith Boykin, a CNN political commentator and New York Timesbest-selling author; Michelle Singletary, a nationally syndicated personal finance columnist for The Washington Post; Shermichael Singleton, political consultant, writer, commentator and contributing host of Vox Media’s “Consider It,” and Maya Wiley, senior vice president for social justice at the New School University and the Henry Cohen Professor of public and urban policy at the university’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Public Policy.
Following the 2018 midterm elections, Black women stand out as a demographic group with one of the largest voter turnouts.  In 2014, 2016 and 2018, more than 74% of Black women said they voted out of a sense of responsibility rather than to support a specific candidate or ballot measure.  Increasingly, however, Black women indicate that they are looking for a return on their voting investment.
The BWA Awards Luncheon was a celebration of Black women who were among the first to enter and distinguish themselves in their fields. Among this year’s honorees were: The Honorable Cheri Beasley, the first Black woman Chief Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina; The Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia; Dorothy Butler Gilliam, the first Black woman reporter for The Washington Post; political powerhouses Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah D. Daughtry, and Minyon Moore; Dr. Patricia A. Harris, the first Black woman president, American Medical Association; Joi Gordon, CEO, Dress for Success Worldwide, and Deryl McKissack and Cheryl McKissack Daniel, President and CEO, McKissack & McKissack, oldest woman/minority-owned professional design and construction firm in the United States. Spelman College sophomore Jacqueline Thompson was also recognized as the recipient of BWA’s Bright Futures Scholarship Award.
“As Black women, we have proven that we are a force to be reckoned with,” Hess said, “however securing our interests and maintaining a presence on the America’s landscape requires us to be ever vocal, visible and vigilant.”
Founded in 1977 in Washington, DC, The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(C)3 organization that generates awareness and support for issues that secure, protect and advance the rights of Black women and their families. BWA is comprised of 22 collaborating organizations — sororities, civic, service and faith-based — representing millions of women worldwide.
In 2008, the US House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which is now known as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that “racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care. Poor mental health care access and quality contribute to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide, among racial and ethnic minority populations.”
To be valued and loved. To know who you are and that you have the power to make a
difference. These are the aspirations that most mothers have their children. In 1938, in the midst
of the Great Depression, twenty African-American mothers in Philadelphia came together not to
hope or to dream, but to provide the opportunities, experiences, and life lessons that would
enable their children and others to live these truths. Their group became Jack and Jill of
America, Inc. – an organization that’s mission is as relevant today as it was some 80 years ago.
This June, The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) joins our nation in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of African American Music Appreciation Month.
The month-long observance, which was first inducted on June 7, 1979, by President Jimmy Carter was christened as Black Music Month. President Barack Obama renamed the national observance as African-American Music Appreciation Month. The observance was created to recognize and celebrate the historical influence African-Americans have had on the music industry and is intended to pay homage to the many artists, writers, songs and albums that have inspired music lovers and shaped American pop culture.