Three Hundred Black Women Make Their Voices Heard in Washington

In March, 300 African-American Women traveled to the United States Capitol in Washingt...

 photo bwrsummit.jpg
In March, 300 African-American Women traveled to the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. to advocate for policies and programs that benefit the African-American community, including public education and gun violence.

The three hundred women, who hailed from ten states met with representatives as a part of the second annual Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) National Women of Power Summit. The Black Women’s Round Table is a civic engagement network of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. This year’s National Women of Power Summit was entitled “Amplifying the Voices of Women and Girls in the Digital Age”. It was held on March 14 – 16th.

March 14th, the first day of the Summit, was entitled Public Policy Day. On this day the women visited Capitol Hill to visit congressional offices and have a legislative briefing with Congressional members. The women met with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Paul Ran (R-WI), Rep. Jon Conyers (D-MI).  A congressional briefing featuring Rep. Yvette Clarke followed the meetings.

According to “Black Women’s Roundtable Addresses Relevant Issues” by WI Web Staff for The Washington Informer Rep. Yvette Clarke advocated for the presence of African-American Women in politics.

 “We must make sure that our faces are a part of the debate and dialogue," Rep. Yvette Clarke  (D-NY) said. "We are known for doing what we have to do to keep it moving. Women owned businesses are creating jobs. They train and employ those who have been shunned by society,” Clarke said.

Melanie L. Campbell, convener of Black Women’s Roundtable, also agreed in a press release of the place African-American women hold in politics.

“As my mentor, Dr. Dorothy I. Height often said, Black women get the job done. We see the problems tearing at the fabric of our community every day so we knew that we needed to kick off our conference up here on Capitol Hill to let our legislators know that we have an agenda and we intend to make sure our voices are heard,” Campbell said.

Campbell continued, “In 2012 Black women were the highest vote for President Obama and the margin of victory for many right here in the U. S. Congress. We are here to make sure our elected officials know what we want.”

Many of the participants in the BWR Summit helped register and mobilize a million votes in the last decade.

After the congressional briefing concluded the women of the BWR Summit headed to the White House to be briefed on public policy by Tina Tchen, assistant to President Obama and chief of staff for First Lady Michelle Obama ; Latifa Lyles, acting director of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor; and Marie C. Johns, deputy administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration.

The conference continued with “Civic Engagement & Global Empowerment Day” hosted by National Education Association on Friday, and “Community Day” hosted by “Shiloh Baptist Church on Saturday.

“Civic Engagement & Global Empowerment Day” included a luncheon and health related workshops, while “Community Day” held future heath related workshops, health screenings and group exercise classes.

The summit concluded on Saturday, more information can be found on their website.

Overall, the Black Women’s Roundtable National Women of Power Summit allowed the minority voice of African-American Women to be held on the national stage.

"We came here on a song and a prayer to let these lawmakers know that our people are hurting. They're loosing jobs and homes. […] We can't keep watching dissention and lengthy filibusters in DC. Black families need help now or we need to elect new leaders,” Sheila Tyson, convener of Alabama Black Women’s Roundtable.

Tatiana M. Brown is a native of Washington, D.C. who is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Follow her @TatianaMBrown or check out her website, or contact her at

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