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Charles Dickens, in his classic “A Tale of Two Cities” while looking at the economic and entrepreneurial conditions faced by 19th century Europe, described the situation this way: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

His paradoxical passage accurately speaks to today’s “Age of Trump” where Blacks all along Main Street USA see consistent efforts by GOP leaders and the White House to roll back clocks and renege on past promises — rights and privileges for which Blacks have fought and died to obtain.

Perhaps that’s why this year’s 47th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and which kicked off Wednesday, Sept. 20, yields so much significance on the lives of Blacks around the globe in general and Black Americans in particular.

The conference, which continues through Sunday, Sept. 24, provides a forum in which provocative conversations can be facilitated among a bevy of intellectually astute politicians, enterprising business owners, ardent community activists, concerned citizens and even eager millennials to the District with numbers exceeding 10,000 attendees.

A. Shaunise Washington, president and CEO of CBCF, Inc., believes those who participate in this year’s conference will leave “energized and equipped to be the change [they] want to see in [their] community and world.”

“Each year, the ALC brings … attendees [encouraged to] participate in solution-centered sessions on issues that impact African-Americans and Black communities worldwide,” she said. “This year’s conference theme reflects a legacy of resilience that emphasizes the collective strength of the Black community to rise above continued racial inequalities.”

The ALC returns to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest, where there will be conversations focusing on essential policy issues including voting rights, health care, economic development, education and the environment.

Highlights from this year’s events include: the always-anticipated and filled-to-capacity National Town Hall, “Fighting the Systemic Destruction of our Civil Rights;” the Phoenix Awards Dinner; the Sojourner Truth Legacy Project Town Hall; “Black Women & Girls in the U.S. Criminal Justice System: School to Prison Pipeline;” the Prayer Breakfast featuring keynote speaker Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., West Angeles Church of God in Christ and Grammy-winning gospel artist Pastor Shirley Caesar; and the Authors Pavilion.

And, yes, there will be more than enough receptions and parties, networking opportunities or chances to reconnect with old friends, to fill out the week of activities. Still, the question will remain whether this year’s ALC will see a harkening of Blacks frustrated, if not angered, by recent attempts to reinstate second-class citizenship on people of color across the globe, and determined to find innovative ways by which to stem the tide?

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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