Doers of the deed and trendsetters across industries, Black women have a lot to celebrate. Over 300 Black women gathered for the Black Women’s Agenda 45th Annual Symposium Town Hall and awards luncheon, returning in person for the first time in three years.
Black Women’s Agenda honored Rep. Val Demings, who is working hard to replace Sen. Marco Rubio in the Senate, with the president’s award. She could not attend the ceremony in person hard at work on the campaign trail.
If elected, Demings would be the third Black woman to ever serve in the upper chamber of Congress. Currently, there are no Black women in the Senate. Demings, along with North Carolina’s Cheri Beasley, could change things this November.
The group also honored Rep. Bennie G. Thompson with the profiles in courage award for his leadership as chair of the House Committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Jim Clyburn was also recognized with the Keeper of the Dreams Award. He tweeted a heartfelt thanks to the organization for honoring his work.
Creators of the CROWN Coalition, which inspired CROWN ACT legislation around the country, were also recognized for their leadership. Black Women’s Agenda President Gwainevere Catchings Hess reflected on the advances made by Black women in just the past few years.
“Black women have moved the needle in historic ways the last few years,” Hess said. “We have a seat at the table in the White House and on the Supreme Court. These are huge gains; however, record levels of inflation pose serious financial problems for African Americans. Issues associated with health equity – being able to make our own decisions about our bodies, maternal mortality, and disparities in care – continue to plague our communities, and our access to the polls, in some states, is under attack. We’ve shown what we can do when we make our voices heard, and now is the time to be proud and loud.”
Black women’s leadership has been touted over the years, but there is still a long way to go in achieving parity and equity across all segments of society.
The nearly 50-year-old non-profit was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1977. The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. comprises 24 collaborating organizations, sororities, civic, service and faith-based groups serving millions of women.
“Unapologetic Joy” is more than just this year’s them. It’s a framework for living. Black women are confident in who they are and what they want. There is no reason their voices shouldn’t be represented fully in policies and opportunities.