**FILE** Melanie Campbell (Courtesy photo)
**FILE** Melanie Campbell (Courtesy photo)

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) again has invited the world to be a part of the leading policy conference on issues affecting African Americans and the global Black community.

The 50th Annual Legislative Conference kicked off Sunday, Sept. 12. It runs through Friday, Sept. 17.

The conference also acknowledges the largest Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) class to date.

“The conference programming reflects our charge for 2021 and beyond to a continued commitment to uplifting, empowering and mobilizing Black communities through the theme of ‘Black Excellence Unparalleled: Pressing Onward in Power,’” CBCF officials noted.

The conference features thought leaders, legislators and concerned citizens who engage in economic development, civil and social justice, public health and education.

CBC Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) opened the conference with honorary co-chairs Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware), CBCF Chair Lori George Billingsley and CBCF President Tonya Veasey.

Sessions scheduled include “Re-envisioning Liberation for the Global Black Diaspora” and “Real Talk: Conversations about Family Caregiving in the Black Community” featuring Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable.

The conference also tackles “The Impact of COVID-19 on Black Businesses: One Year Later.”

“Black businesses continue to experience the downside of navigating a pandemic and dramatically reduced access to resources especially customers and contracts,” conference officials stated. “The lack of equitable access to capital and shrinking reserves continues to hinder sustainability. Clearly, COVID-19 has impacted our society in more ways than one and Black entrepreneurs are fighting a pandemic within a pandemic.”

Sessions also include an “Environmental Justice Braintrust,” which will focus on the connection between environmental justice and health disparities.

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the significant impact both environmental and health disparities have on communities of color. This year’s program promises to discuss the intersections of these two areas and what must occur to address these disparities.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) will lead a voting rights brain trust titled, “Winning the Fight for Voting Rights,” where panelists will discuss the urgency of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell’s legislation to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and address modern-day barriers to the ballot box.

Additionally, the conference will impanel a group to discuss the importance of mental health in the Black Community.

Panels will also tackle the narrowing of the wealth gap and the state of housing in Black America, Sustaining Fathers, Black Men and Boys through the Impact of COVID Pandemic and Racial Justice and a discussion on the impact of the late boxing great Muhammad Ali.

The conference also includes the 13th annual Black Women’s Roundtable Policy Forum: The Power of Black Women’s Leadership in the Voting Rights Movement.

The conference concludes with the annual Phoenix Awards and the “Black Block Party.”

For more information or to attend the conference, go to www.cbcfinc.org.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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