45th Annual Symposium Town Hall & Awards Luncheon


( ENSPIRE She Did That ) The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. Hosted its 45th Annual Symposium Town Hall & Awards Luncheon

ENSPIRE Contributor: Megan Holder

Three years after its last in-person gathering, The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) hosted its 45th Annual Symposium Town Hall & Awards Luncheon. Reconvening in the nation’s capital to celebrate achievement and address the impact of inflation, health disparities, and attempts to limit voting rights. 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 24 collaborating organizations–sororities, civic, service, and faith-based–representing millions of women worldwide.

“Black women have moved the needle in historic ways the last few years,” said BWA President Gwainevere Catchings Hess. “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–body-making decisions, maternal mortality, and disparities in care–continue to plague our communities. 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.”

Jenifer Lewis, celebrated actress and a star of the ABC-TV hit show “Blackish,” celebrated achievement and activism at The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc.

Over 800 elected officials, corporate executives, educators, and journalists joined BWA’s leadership, National Collaborating Organizations, and supporters in saluting this year’s honorees. The Honorable James E. Clyburn (D-SC), Majority Whip and the third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, was presented with BWA’s Keeper of the Dreams Award. “For those who think The Black Women’s Agenda has been dormant for the past three years, take note,” Catchings Hess told Symposium participants. “There’s a Black woman living in the Vice President’s mansion just a few miles from here and a Black woman sitting on the nation’s highest court. The theme of this year’s Symposium is Unapologetic Joy. We know who we are, we know what we want, and we are more than prepared to make our voices heard, our presence felt, and to press for policies and opportunities that empower our families and communities to live their best lives.”

BWA launched the first of a series of town hall forums devoted to economic empowerment and entrepreneurship. Symone Sanders-Townsend moderated the discussion, which featured guest panelists: Gabrielle Anderson, Natalie Cofield, Sharon Epperson, Sophia Nelson, and Jenell R. Ross.

U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn, Majority Whip and third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, accepted the Keeper of the Dreams Award from The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc.

During the program, the panelists encouraged over 300 participants to overcome economic barriers by constructively managing money, embracing effective saving and investing strategies, and exploring opportunities for entrepreneurship. They also provided tips, resources, and information to aid women and their families in making key decisions about money that will enable them to be financially prepared at all stages of life. The session was streamed via the organization’s YouTube channel, making it available to viewers worldwide.


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