A panel led by Rep. John Conyers (second from right) discusses voting rights at the 46th annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation conference in D.C. on Sept. 16. PHOTO BY WILLIAM J. FORD
A panel led by Rep. John Conyers (second from right) discusses voting rights at the 46th annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation conference in D.C. on Sept. 16. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is celebrating the 47th year of the Annual Legislative conference. The CBCF Annual Legislative Conference, as described on the website, is the leading policy conference on issues impacting African-Americans and the global black community. Thought leaders, legislators and concerned citizens engage on economic development, civil and social justice, public health and education issues. As a relatively new person to the District of Columbia from Massachusetts, I had heard of the CBC conference for a long time. The reality did not match my experience. I have been impressed year after year about the coming together of those people from around the country and the world who come together to share information about the subject matters that are significant to Black people living in these United States. It has been amazing to me the breadth and the depth of those people who speak and participate in this monumental event. It was greater than I could have imagined.

What has compelled me to attend every year is the regular track on Business, Economic Development & Wealth Creation. So many times we talk about economics as the tool of oppression. As Frederick Douglass said Power concedes nothing without a fight. As Black people we know that we cannot look for someone else to create opportunities for us. We must take the responsibility to create a legacy for our children’s children. The data shows that we as a people are consistently not taking the steps to provide for the next generation. We know that the institutional racism that exists is a force that is designed to make sure that the haves continue to have and the have-nots can simply watch from afar and stay frustrated enough to fight against one another.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has given us 47 years of instruction, and in this time where we are clear that there are no friends in the White House and #45 is working feverishly to erase any possible vestige of progress that President Barack Obama created, we need to come together like no other time. We do not have the luxury of sitting back and waiting to see what will happen. We must work together and not just hear about what we should do we need to take action.

The conference tracks truly speak to the issues and concerns of the Black people in addition to the Wealth Creation other topics include Civil Rights, Judiciary & History that reflects upon where we have come from and the strategies to keep us vigilant in fighting for voting rights and civil rights with “Innocence Denied.”

The civic engagement/community outreach track holds sessions that include “The Activist Athlete” and “How to Stop the Bleeding: Rebuilding our Black Neighborhoods.” The African proverb states to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. This is our truth. This is that which the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference embodies. Together we can shape our tomorrow.

Aimee Griffin is an attorney with the Griffin Firm in D.C.

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