The Black Women’s Roundtable is the women and girls empowerment arm of the NCBCP; BWR is at the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women.
Several key events took place on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and at the summit’s hotel, the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. The theme of the gathering was “Invest. Inspire. Unite. Act!”
NCBCP is one of the most active civil rights organizations in the U.S. and Melanie Campbell, the president of the NCBCP, is one of the few Black women civil rights leaders who are invited to meetings at the White House along with the trio of NAACP, NUL and National Action Network presidents. Campbell has taken the reigns often held by the late legendary leader Dorothy Height, who passed away in April 2010.
NCBCP launched the BWR Summit this year, by releasing the 4th Annual BWR Report titled, “Black Women in the U.S. 2017: Moving Our Agenda Forward in a Post-Obama Era.”
The BWR planned to share the report with members of the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration.
In a statement about the summit, Campbell said that the group wanted to “educate and share [their] deep concerns about the proposed repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that cuts Medicare and Medicaid; and federal budget cuts to safety net programs that impact the most vulnerable, such as after school programs for poor children, Meals on Wheels for our senior citizens, clean air and water protections in communities across the country and other issues.”
The five-day event focused on advocacy around issues such as affordable health care, federal budget cuts, criminal justice reform, voting rights and paid family leave.
Attendees of all ages attended the annual summit. On the third day of the conference, Linda Brigham, the senior manager for public affairs and communications at the Coca-Cola Company, presented a check for $250,000 to Campbell to support future BWR events.
Appearing at the summit were Maureen Bunyan, former news anchor for Washington, D.C.’s WJLA-TV and one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalists; Vanessa DeLuca, the editor-in-chief of Essence magazine; Suzan Johnson Cook, the former U.S. ambassador at-large for International Religious Freedom; and Janaye Ingram, the director of logistics for the Women’s March on Washington.
Several members of Congress met with BWR members as well, including Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.).
Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and Connect with Lauren by email at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.