Nicole Austin-Hillery (Courtesy photo)
Nicole Austin-Hillery (Courtesy photo)

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF)’s 52nd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), themed “Securing Our Democracy, Protecting Our Freedoms, Uplifting Our Culture,” takes place on September 20-24. 

The ALC is hosted under the leadership of CBCF President and CEO Nicole Austin-Hillery, CBCF Board Chair Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama 7th District) and ALC honorary co-chairs Delegate Stacey E. Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands) and Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia). 

They are working in conjunction with Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nevada 4th District), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for the 118th Congress (2023-2024). 

The ALC comes amid polarizing state and federal-level discussions about history curricula, voting rights, economic mobility, and terror attacks on Black communities. 

That’s why, in staying true to the theme, the CBCF will host some events beyond the halls of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest. 

Below is some of what participants can expect: 

Sept. 21

  • CBC Spouses Community Breakfast at Franklin Park in Northwest 
  • Gospel Extravaganza at United House of Prayer in Northwest 

Sept. 22

  • The Black Party at the Hamilton Hotel in Northwest 

These functions count as part of a long-term strategy centered on voter education and engagement in the lead up to the 2024 election season. 

In May, the CBC convened its National Summit on Democracy & Race, where government leaders, scholars, activists, experts and thought leaders brainstormed legislative options they could take and executive actions they could recommend for President Joe Biden (D) and Attorney General Merrick Garland. 

Weeks later, during the Summer of Action, Vice President Kamala Harris (D) and various CBC members — including Horsford, James Clyburn (D-South Carolina 6th District), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts 7th District) — participated in youth forums and training sessions across 14 cities. 

During the ALC, tens of thousands of people will weigh in on policy, social justice, economic empowerment, healthcare and education, among other topics of significance to Black America. Those elements, in addition to the Prayer Breakfast, National Town Hall, and Phoenix Awards will provide ample opportunity for networking and the advancement of goals related to the well-being of the American populace. 

Horsford said that the people will best dictate the course of action that he and his fellow CBC members will take at what he described as a critical moment in the nation’s history. 

“Our founders have always embodied focusing on the people [so] we have to take the issues closest to where the people are,” Horsford said. 

“There are people standing in the way of our opportunity for wealth creation and by taking these issues to the people, we can uplift the people and the impact of the policy that we’re trying to advance,” he added.

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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