The first post-election national conversation among Black leadership will kick-off tomorrow on the campus of Howard University in the nation’s capital. The State of the Black World Conference III convenes just one week after the nation re-elected President Barack Obama to a second term. The conference is also being held in the shadow of a debate on Capitol Hill over the nation’s deficit, its policy priorities and the manner in which revenue will be raised to support federal policy priorities. The event is held simultaneously with the Damu Smith Training Institute (DSTI), an initiative to build skills and capacity to advance community organizing, community development and servant leadership. The Institute runs November 14-16 while the State of the Black World Conference runs unto November 18.
The State of the Black World Conference is an initiative of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW). IBW President and conference convener Dr. Ron Daniels notes, “Dr. Daniels states that “We’re certainly proud to have a Black family in the White House, but this achievement does not mean that we now live in a post-racial society. There is a state of emergency in America’s ‘dark ghettos’ where millions of Black people are suffering from the effects of structural/institutional racism. Faced with this reality, it is imperative that we discuss what we must do for ourselves to heal Black communities, what we must demand of private sector institutions in terms of reinvesting in our communities, and what we must demand of the federal government. We must leave the conference with a fighting spirit and renewed resolve to end the state of emergency in our communities.” Dr. Daniels is former Executive Director of the National Rainbow Coalition and Deputy Campaign Manager for Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s 1988 campaign for President. He was an independent candidate for President in 1992. Dr. Daniels is also former Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He is currently a Distinguished Lecturer at York College, City University of New York. Daniels is also a featured columnist on NorthStarNews.com.
The Conference will begin November 14th with the launch of the Damu Smith Leadership Development and Organizer Training Institute which is designed to hone the skills of “servant leaders and organizers to do vital work in Black communities across the country. The Institute will be limited to one hundred participants. The first public event of the Conference will be a high profile National Town Hall Meeting, November 15, 7:00 – 9:30 PM at Cramton Auditorium on the campus of Howard University. Some of Black America’s most influential leaders will assess The Impact of the 2012 Election on the State of Emergency in Black America. Joblessness, economic underdevelopment in the Black community, the epidemic of violence and fratricide plaguing many distressed Black communities, mass incarceration’ the assault on voting rights, and the Black stake in immigration policy reform are among the issues expected to be discussed at the Town Hall Meeting.
Susan Taylor, Former Editorial Director, Essence Magazine, New York; Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Host of Our World Today with Black Enterprise, New York; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President Emeritus, Bennett College for Women, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Mtanguizi Sanyika, African American Leadership Project, Houston, Texas; Jeff Johnson, Political Commentator, B.E.T. and the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Washington, D.C.; George Fraser, President, FraserNet, the largest network of Black professionals in the world, Cleveland, OH; Atty. Faya Rose Sanders, Founder, National Voting Rights Museum, Selma, AL; Rev. Dr. Willie Wilson, Pastor, Union Temple Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., and Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congressional Black Caucus, Los Angeles, CA are the confirmed Panelists. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congressional Black Caucus, Brooklyn, NY, and Rev. Al Sharpton, President, National Action Network have also been invited to join the Panel. Mark Thompson, Host of Make It Plain, SIRIUS/XM, and Bev Smith, Host, the Bev Smith Show, Empowerment Radio, SIRIUS/XM will serve as Moderators.
On Friday November 16 NorthStarNews.com Executive Editor Walter Fields will moderate the State of Black America Policy Roundtable. Fields also serves as the Facilitator for the Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission. The panel will feature Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Hillary Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Office, Dr. Elsie Scott, Director of the Ronald W. Walters Center at Howard University, and Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
The Conference will continue Friday through Sunday November 16 - 18, with a series of Special Affinity, Plenary and Working Sessions dealing with a wide range of issues affecting Black families and communities, particularly in urban inner-cities areas. More than one hundred speakers and resource people will present models and strategies and engage the participants in these sessions. The organizers hope to adopt a Declaration of Intent to Heal Black Families and Communities as a blueprint and action agenda to be implemented as outgrowth of the Conference.
The conference takes place against the backdrop of strong Black voter turnout for President Obama in an election in which African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, gay voters and women turned out overwhelmingly to cast votes for the President. Largely drawing from the emerging population of the nation, President Obama scored a decisive electoral vote victory over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney and also outpolled him in the popular vote. Romney’s support was largely drawn from white males and his loss has Republicans questioning how the GOP can succeed in an environment in which people of color are inching closer to an electoral majority. The consideration of the nation’s changing demographic profile sets the background for the State of the Black World Conference.