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Hazel Trice Edney, the owner of Trice Edney Communications Inc. and the Trice Edney News Wire, honored 12 noted women of color at her annual “Stateswomen for Justice Luncheon and Issues Forum” that took place at the National Press Club on March 31.
Featuring food, live music and a panel, the theme of the luncheon was “Still on the Battlefield!” and Washington Informer Managing Editor Micha Green served as the moderator.
“By no means are the women we’re honoring today — these light bearers — passing the torch. They’re guiding us along the way with their wisdom, strength, resilience, dedication, wit, intelligence and all-around Black Girl Magic,” Green said, calling the honorees her sheroes.
The honorees were D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters (D-California), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Frederica Wilson (D-Florida) along with journalist and minister the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds, entrepreneur Xernona Clayton, children’s rights activist Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, civil rights activists Hazel Dukes and Myrlie Evers-Williams, civil rights attorney Elaine Jones, scholar Dr. Mary Frances Berry and evangelist Shirley Ann Caesar Williams.
“They are our queens — civil rights, social justice, journalistic and gospel royalty,” said Edney of the honorees, who were also featured on a souvenir calendar. “Throughout history, Black women have carried the torch and defended the cause of freedom, justice and equality alongside their heroic male counterparts. During Women’s History Month 2023, we honor them for their tireless work on the battlefield.”
Norton served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker.
“I am happy to be here to salute the women of the Black press,” said Norton, 85. “They have been central to the African American community. I want to thank women for all you have done to enlighten our country and our world.”
Norton said she will continue to fight for the District’s quest for statehood and fight against the U.S. Congress’s interference in the affairs of the city.
Reynolds, 80, warned the audience about complacency regarding the emerging technology of artificial intelligence as a participant in the panel discussion.
“We have to look behind the curtain to see who is pulling the strings,” she said. “It is white men. This has not been designed for us. On its platforms Black women are described as angry while white women are described as pretty and nice. This is an example of digital colonization and we have to be informed about it.”
Nicole Elam, president of the National Bankers Association, encouraged the audience to set up an account at an African American bank.
“At our peak, we had 134 Black banks in this country,” Elam said. “Now we only have 21.”
Elam said expensive technological advancements, the new generation of customers who use mobile devices for their banking matters, and financially unstable banks are the new threats to Black financial institutions.
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist and National Newspaper Publisher Association columnist, urged audience members to fight to keep Black history instruction in schools and higher education institutions.
Marcia Griffin, founder and CEO of HomeFree-USA, advocated for homeownership, saying Black people could become a race of renters.
JPMorgan Chase Divisional Director Michele Lawrence talked about financial literacy.