Reported by Doshon Farad
Whoever said that black people are unorganized and lazy obviously never attended the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference (CBC). This past weekend marked the group’s forty-fourth year hosting its yearly four day convention lasting from September 24-27. The caucus was founded in 1971 by a group of black congress members who wanted to ensure that the issues of the black community were not ignored.
Each year the CBC brings together arguably Black America’s best, brightest, and wealthiest from across the nation. The conference primarily entails “Braintrust” panel forums that serve as strategy sessions focused on improving the African-American community.
The topics range from politics to health and from international affairs to Hip Hop. These sessions are generally organized and moderated by caucus members and popular public figures.
The gathering also includes a town hall meeting to address major issues affecting blacks in America and across the world as well as an Exhibit hall that includes employers, Fortune 500 representatives and a special section for radio hosts to broadcast live from the event. The CBC conference also holds concerts as well as lavish receptions hosted by caucus members and always concludes with a huge acknowledgement dinner known as the “Phoenix Awards” that honors people who have made a positive impact on society.
This year’s conference theme was “It Starts With You” emphasizing the concept of self-reliance which historically so many black organizations are known for advocating.
Walking through the Walter E.Washington Convention Center during the three day event one could feel the high energy and enthusiasm that was very apparent among attendees who ranged from politicians to business people and from activists to entertainers.
Attending this year’s conference was “Empowerment Radio Network” founder and host Mr. David Anderson who traveled all the way from Atlanta, Georgia to broadcast live from the event. He shared some of his thoughts with Your Black World. “We’re coming together to talk about the issues that are relevant and affecting black people.This conference is necessary for the development of the black agenda to make sure that we’re doing what is it that we need to be doing.”
“Annual Legislative Conference 2014” featured several rather large Braintrust sessions that at one point during their programs were filled to capacity. One that stood out in particular was the “National Town Hall” meeting moderated by journalist Jeff Johnson. During this televised session there was a panel comprised of members of congress and other prominent experts discussing issues centering around African-Americans-voting rights in particular.
The second one-“My Brother’s Keeper” forum-discussed the plight of young black men. It featured a panel made up of several popular black public figures that included the Reverend Al Sharpton and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity International President Jonathan Mason.
This program focused on the plight of young black men. During the very candid discussion each participant attempted to analyze and offer solutions to the crisis facing young black men across the America. These two forums included “Q&A” sessions in which panelists heard from audience members.
The convention as it does every year concluded with the very extravagant “Phoenix Awards” dinner. This year honorees included but was not limited to boxing legend and philanthropist Muhammad Ali,Radio One founder Cathy Hughes and civil rights leader Wade Henderson.
This particular event that treated attendees to a concert performed by R&B legend Ronald Isley also featured a keynote address by President Barack Obama.
We caught up with Miss Black America 2014 Shynieka Taylor who shared some of her thoughts regarding this year’s CBC gathering. “I’m excited about everything that’s happening at this year’s Congressional Black Caucus. I think that whenever the African-American community can get on one accord and discuss issues and disparities that are going on in our community and have a solution orientated mindset that we can really create positive and progressive change in the U.S. and also in our own community as well.”