By AFRO Staff

Aug. 28 is a significant day in Black history for many reasons. On Aug. 28, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered by lynching, marking a pivotal moment for the civil rights movement; on Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington; on Aug. 28, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, devastating and destroying the lives of thousands; and on Aug. 28, 2008, former President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, in which he would go on to serve for the next eight years. 

This year, the Black National Convention was held on Aug. 28 virtually due to social gathering restrictions. The live-streamed three hour conversation centered around the theme of building power and policy in defense of Black lives that couldn’t come at a more important time.

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It is no secret that our country is more divided than ever and as the upcoming election in November nears, it is critical for people of color and minorities to mobilize with a clear electoral strategy. This event featured a series of paneled conversations, performances and other activations geared at engaging and informing the Black community. 

Inspired by the first National Black Political Convention held in Gary, Ind. in 1972, the 2020 BNC was orchestrated by the Electoral Justice Project (EJP), a project of M4BL that seeks to continue a long legacy of social movements fighting for the advancement of the rights of Black.

“From our elders and ancestors we learned it is possible to bring Black people together from all political ideologies and backgrounds to mobilize around a common vision for Black liberation,” said Kayla Reed, Co-Founder of the Electoral Justice Project and Executive Director of Action St. Louis. “We want to bring the momentum of the streets to a political organizing space where people can gather, reflect, and take action. 

Directed by award-winning writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton and a host line-up including Movement 4 Black Lives (M4BL) leaders Kayla Reed and Philip Agnew, with activist and actress Angelica Ross, the convention initiated a Black national agenda guided by the Vision for Black Lives (V4BL).

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