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.
The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) has partnered with Common Cause, an organization fighting for an accountable government, equal rights / opportunities / representation and empowering voices in the political process to get out the vote and protect the vote. This partnership will allow individuals and organizations to expand their community outreach by ensuring that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count.
The Election Protection Program provides Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive information and assistance at all stages of voting – from registration, to absentee and early voting, to casting a vote at the polls, to overcoming obstacles to their participation.
WASHINGTON, DC – Friday, September 18, 2020 – The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) went on the offensive today, hosting a virtual town hall devoted to protecting and securing the voting rights of African Americans and other people of color during its 43rd Annual Symposium. Moderated by Heather McGhee, Board Chair, The Color of Change, a panel of prominent political activists and observers – including Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President, Repairers of the Breach and Co-chair, Poor People’s Campaign; Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, anthropologist, educator and Board Chair of The National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., an esteemed author, commentator and Chairman of Princeton University’s Department of African-American Studies, and Aisha C. Mills, a nationally renowned political strategist and social impact advisor – discussed strategies for combatting voter suppression, registering and engaging African-American voters, and ensuring that they have the opportunity to make their voices heard.
Supported by a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. on Jan. 31 will launch its national COVID-19 Public Health Education Social Media Campaign to narrow the gap of those impacted by the pandemic in the African American community. “I Am The Change: Addressing COVID-19 Here And Now!” targets members of BWA’s 24 National Collaborating Organizations, representing more than three million Black women in the U.S.