l – r: Oprah Winfrey and Diane Bell-McKoy shown during the Associated Black Charities Equity First/A Speaker Series. (Courtesy Photo/ABC)

By Rev. Dorothy S. Boulware
AFRO Managing Editor

Waves of happiness filled the social media air as people responded to the familiar voice and face that graced the virtual final broadcast of Associated Black Charities Equity First/A Speaker Series.

First in the series was Kesha Boyd, executive director, multicultural video and entertainment with Xfinity Consumer Services. Then, Michele Fuller, CEO, president and founder of Minerva Global Business Solutions. The third speaker was Clarence Wooten, entrepreneur in residence at X, Alphabet’s the moonshot factory and co-founding general partner at Revitalize.

And on Nov. 30, Giving Tuesday, the speaker was Oprah.

Colen called it an “outstanding program, excellent master class,” and thanked ABC CEO Diane Bell-McKoy for such a “wonderful and thoughtful” experience.

Don was thrilled at having Oprah “bring back great memories of her days and experiences in Baltimore.” He said she gave, “tremendous lessons and advice in her words.”

Janet, who said she’d been a Communications student at Morgan in 1979, said, “We love your story,” and that Oprah had been a great inspiration to her and to Black Baltimore.

Oprah is always eager to talk about her beginnings and how many people helped her along the way to where she is now. She paraphrased a line from “Our Grandmothers,” by Maya Angelou; “I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.” That line echoed throughout conversation and media the next day.

Oprah definitely won the night, but it wasn’t about Oprah. Not totally.

The purpose of ABC’s most recent vehicle is to raise funds so that Baltimore frontline workers are not relegated to low salary positions, but trained for those that bring about advancement and thrivable wages for everyone.

“We have got to get the word out that people in Baltimore are not stupid. They are not unproductive. They are not,” Bell McKoy said.

“Our people are deserving of training and access that allows them to grow in their chosen fields and become homeowners, entrepreneurs and whatever else they desire for themselves and their families.”

And this year’s speaker series is just one of the ways to make that happen.

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