By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO

It was a week of motivation, encouragement and action as the Black Women’s Roundtable, a subsidiary of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) hosted the 8th Annual Women of Power National summit offered a town hall of action to round out the weeklong events.

The summit, which was held March 14 – 19 at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel was designed to unite Black women leaders and allies from across the country for five days to share public policy priorities with the 116th Congress and develop organizing and empowerment strategies to lift up and improve the lives of Black women, their families and communities.

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (NCBCP) Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) Intergenerational Public Policy Network’s 8th Annual “Women of Power National Summit” was held at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel from March 14-19. (Courtesy Photo)

“Each year the BWR Women of Power Summit serves as the premier forum focused on showcasing and lifting up the unique power, leadership, expertise, talents and influence of Black women from diverse backgrounds and ages,” said Melanie L. Campbell, president & CEO, NCBCP and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable. “The summit arms our BWR members and other attendees with tools and resources to advocate for the issues that matter most to them in the halls of Congress and in their state and local government and stresses the importance of self-care as leaders.”

Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” was the prelude to the call to action address, “What Black Women Want from the Next President: An Agenda for the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle.” It was enough to get people out of their seats and primed for a message.

“It’s been five days of doing what need to do,” said Campbell. She urged Black women to keep showing up to the capitol and to the polls.

Speakers reinforced the notion of staying active and and bringing the fire back home to their own communities. It was a pep rally of poems, speeches and speakers representing women from across the country.

Last year, in partnership with Essence magazine, the NCBCP did a survey on the power of the sister vote. There were some key findings:

Most importantly was the fact that Black women continue to be activists. According to the survey, Black women are activists, with a rise of 61 percent in activism compared to 50 percent in the previous year.

The survey also highlighted a  significant shift in political priorities. According to the data, in 2018, only 35 percent selected affordable healthcare as the most important issue facing the community, down from 48 percent in 2017. Now, the number one issue is a rise in hate crimes/racism, up to 55 percent from 33 percent in 2017. The number two issue is criminal justice/ policing reform; and gun violence/ gun safety is the third most important issue for Black women.

Also when asked if the president is addressing issues important to Black women a resounding 93 percent of the participants said no.

“Sisters nothing beats organized money than organized people. That’s what we need to continue to do,” said Petee Talley of the Ohio Women’s Roundtable. “As Black women let’s keep coming together lets keep making progress and keep doing what we need to do in order to win.”