As the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) celebrates its 40th anniversary, more than 10,000 men, women and youth from across the country will gather in the nation’s capital, eager to weigh in on possible solutions for the myriad of issues that continue to affect black communities in the U.S. and around the globe.
With the theme for this year’s 46th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), “Defining the Moment, Building the Movement,” conversations and analyses will explore themes ranging from economic opportunity and voter suppression to police brutality and crime in the Black community.
Nearly 100 forums and sessions will facilitate provocative discussions during a time in our history when control of both the White House and Congress remain at stake. A. Shuanise Washington, president and CEO, CBCF, Inc., says she continues to draw inspiration from the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), who agreed on the name of the organization in February 1971 after formerly being referred to as a “Democratic Select Committee,” from 1969 to 1971.
“I urge attendees and leaders in business, technology, politics, academia and other areas to listen, learn and share their insights during their time with us this week,” Washington said in a printed statement.
She continued: “We have an opportunity to hand down a meaningful and legacy to our children and grandchildren, just as the generation before ours did for us. Let us resolve to do that.”
The CBC, comprised of Black members of the U.S. Congress, is currently chaired by Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. Since its inception, it has described its goals as “positively influencing the course of events pertinent to African Americans and others of similar experience and situation,” and “achieving greater equity for persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services.”
On the motion of Charles B. Rangel of New York, the Black Caucus began its exemplary work with founding members, including Shirley Chisholm, William L. Clay Sr., George W. Collins, John Conyers, Ronald Dellums, Augustus F. Hawkins, Ralph Metcalfe, Parren Mitchell, Robert Nix, Louis Stokes, Rangel and D.C. Delegate Walter Fauntroy.
While the highlight of the conference will once again be the black tie event, the Phoenix Awards Dinner, where both President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are expected to speak, there will be other noteworthy events held during the week.
Other events that will surely attract record crowds include: a National Town Hall focusing on “The Black Agenda for the Next Administration: What’s at Stake in the 2016 Elections;” a Prayer Breakfast, with keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Ray of Hope Christian Church (Decatur, Georgia); an Authors Pavilion and an Exhibit Showcase.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 14, CBCF, Inc. launched the 46th ALC with a message about the importance and power of the Black vote.
Leaders, including A. Shuanise Washington, R. Donahue Peebles, chairman of the CBCF Board of Directors and Rep. John Conyers, co-founder of the CBC and dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, shared information about a newly-developed Voter Protection Series, on-site voter registration opportunities and valuable resources. They further emphasized that this presidential election, less than 60 days away, will have a significant impact on Black voters who will be without the protection of the 1965 Voting Rights Act for the first time since the legislation became law.
For more information including a schedule of events, go to cbcfinc.org/alc.