Highlights from the 52nd Annual Legislative Conference

CBCF ALC 52 Highlights:

“In the spirit of #ALC52, we celebrate the resounding success of this conference and its timeliness. The discussions surrounding ‘Securing Our Democracy. Protecting our Freedoms. Uplifting our Culture.’ have not only been enlightening but also profoundly relevant to the challenges we face today. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our honorary ALC co-chairs and the CBC and CBCF Board chairs for their invaluable contributions to making this event a remarkable platform for dialogue and progress.”

– Nicole Austin-Hillery, President and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

We had 6 signature events including…

Opening Press Conference

  1. Press Release
  2. WHEN: Wednesday, September 20, 11:30am – 12:00pm ET
  3. WHO: ALC Honorary Co-Chairs Sen. Raphael Warnock and Rep. Stacey E. Plaskett, CBCF Chair Rep. Terri A. Sewell, CBC Chair Rep. Steven Horsford, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, CBCF President and CEO, Nicole Austin-Hillery, and Amazon Head of Black Business and Growth Accelerators Danyel Surrency Jones

CBC Spouses Community Breakfast and Health Fair

  1. Press Release
  2. WHEN: Thursday, September 21, 7:00am – 10:30am ET
  3. WHO: Hosted by Congressional Black Caucus spouses; CBCF President and CEO Nicole Austin-Hillery, ALC Honorary Co-Chairs Sen. Raphael Warnock and Rep. Stacey E. Plaskett, CBCF Chair Rep. Terri A. Sewell, CBC Chair Rep. Steven Horsford were also in attendance.

National Town Hall: Securing Our Democracy. Protecting Our Freedoms. Uplifting Our Culture.

  1. Press Release
  2. WHEN: Thursday, September 21, 9:00am – 11:00am ET
  3. WHO: CBCF President and CEO, Nicole Austin-Hillery; Vice President, CBCF Center for Policy Analysis and Research, Dr. Jonathan M. Cox, Ph.D.; Writer and Media Personality, Michael Eric Dyson; Civil Rights Advocate and Scholar, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw; President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Damon Hewitt; and Chief Policy Officer, Southern Poverty Law Center & SPLC Action Fund, LaShawn Warren
  4. SPECIAL GUEST: Entertainer and business mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs

Gospel Extravaganza

  1. WHEN: Thursday, September 21, 8:00pm – 10:00pm ET
  2. WHO: District choirs, CBC members and faith leaders

Day of Healing

  1. WHEN: Saturday, September 23, 7:30am – 10:00am ET
  2. WHO: Gospel Artist Karen Clark Sheard and Reverend Dr. Gina Stewart were distinguished special guests; CBCF President and CEO Nicole Austin-Hillery, and CBC Members were also in attendance.

Phoenix Awards

  1. Press Release 
  2. WHEN: Saturday, September 23, 7:00pm – 9:30pm ET
  3. WHO: President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 46th President of the United States; Vice President Kamala Harris, 49th Vice President of the United States; CBCF ALC Honorary Co-Chairs Sen. Raphael Warnock and Rep. Stacey E. Plaskett, CBCF Chair Rep. Terri A. Sewell, CBC Chair Rep. Steven Horsford, and CBCF President and CEO, Nicole Austin-Hillery.
  4. HOSTS: Actor Kofi Siriboe; Comedian, Actress and Writer Janelle James
  5. The winners of the 2023 Phoenix Awards are:
    1. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference Honorary Co-Chairs’ Award 
    2. Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award 
    3. House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-8), Congressional Black Caucus’s Body Award 
    4. Tennessee State Rep. Justin Jones (D-TN-52), Congressional Black Caucus Chair’s Award 
    5. MC Lyte and LL Cool J, 2023 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Culture Icon Award
Credit: Kea Taylor/Imagine Photography
Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Credit: Kea Taylor/Imagine Photography
Credit: Kea Taylor/Imagine Photography

WE HAD OVER 100+ SESSIONS THIS YEAR. CBCF brain trusts tackled everything from bias in AI to the moral urgency to end gun violence. 

Who’s who of CBCF ALC 52:

Between sessions and signature events, CBCF ALC welcomed 58 members of the CBC, including:

  • ALC Honorary Co-Chairs 
    1. Sen. Raphael Warnock
    2. Rep. Stacey E. Plaskett
  • CBCF Chair Rep. Terri A. Sewell
  • CBC Chair Rep. Steven Horsford

Key Sessions:

Artificial Intelligence and Black America: Harnessing the Promise and Mitigating the Harms

  • Summary: AI will have profound effects on our economy, society, and daily life — in ways known and unknown. We have an extraordinary opportunity before us to capture its promise, and to lead the world in AI innovation. And we have an urgent responsibility to guard against foreseeable harms: deepfakes, disinformation, and election interference; AI systems that discriminate against marginalized communities in hiring, housing, healthcare; etc. This session will focus on ways to leverage the promise of AI, mitigate risks, elevate Black voices in this critical discourse, invest in STEM learning, and enable emerging technologies to flourish in a responsible way.
  • Participants: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); Arati Prabhakar, Ph.D., Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Charlotte Burrows, Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Moral Urgency to End Gun Violence: A Community Conversation with U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock

  • Summary: Gun violence is an epidemic. One that has ravaged our country, particularly the black community, for decades. Join Reverend Raphael Warnock, U.S. Senator for Georgia and Senior Pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, for a timely conversation to examine the impacts and harm of gun violence on the Black community, and explore how gun violence survivors, advocates, activists, faith leaders, policy experts, elected officials and others need to push in this moment to make institutional change that will finally bring an end to the gun violence crisis.
  • Participants: Sen. Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA, 7), Quavo, and Greg Jackson Jr.

Press Conference with Rep Steven Horsford (D-NV-4):

  • Summary: CBC Chair Steven Horsford and SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman will provide an update on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to lending equity in underserved communities and will announce new SBA loan data for Black-owned small businesses.

A Fireside Chat: The Battle or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Summary: In recent years, the United States has seen increased efforts to dismantle diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. While attacks against these efforts are not new, we are experiencing an important inflection point, with ramifications for our country’s future. During this fireside chat, discussants dissect the motivations and methods behind these rollback efforts and examine their intersection with broader societal and political movements, particularly within the context of the ongoing struggle for racial justice and the unique and disproportionate consequences faced by Black individuals. The goal of the session is to outline the true implications of the threat against DEI in this moment, explore strategies for safeguarding DEI principles, and collectively envision a more inclusive society where diversity is celebrated, equity is pursued, and the rights and experiences of Black people are truly valued.
  • Participants: Jonathan Cox, Vice President of Center for Policy Analysis and Research, CBCF; Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA-43); Sean “Diddy” Combs, Entertainer and Mogul; Symone Sanders-Townsend, Host of “SYMONE”, MSNBC; Alphonso David, President and CEO, Global Black Economic Forum; Simone Jordan, Global Head of Purpose & Brand Partnerships, Unilever; Dr. Sesha Moon, Director of Office of Diversity and Inclusion, U.S. House of Representatives; Ayana Parsons, Chief Operating Officer, Fearless Fund

Meet and Match-Minority: Suppliers Doing Business with the Public and Private Sectors

  • Summary: This is an extraordinary event to give small minority, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran owned, HUB Zone, and women owned businesses the opportunity to market their capabilities directly to the federal government and private sector companies such as TransCanada, Exxon Mobil, BP, Deloitte, the Department of Army, Department of Homeland Security, and others.
  • Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX-18); Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL-20); Isabela Guzman, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration; Hon. Donald R. Cravins, Honorable Donald R. Cravins Under Secretary, Minority Business Development Agency; Shannon Jackson Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Calvin Mitchell, Director of Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, U.S. Department of Education; Annette Owens-Scarboro, Small Business Program Manager, National Institutes of Health; Leonard Grant, Head of Contracting Activity and Director, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Sanjay Ramabhadran Chair, The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County; Lax Chepuri, CEO, Technogen; Korey Gray, Director of Compliance and Business Development, DC Water

Financial Services Braintrust: Closing the Wealth Gap and Providing Access to Capital

  • Participants: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA-43); Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Vista Equity Partners; Everett Sands, CEO, Lendistry.

Energy Braintrust U.S. – Africa Partnership for Ensuring a Just and Equitable Energy Transition in Africa

  • Participants: Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX-18); Apera Nwora; General Manager of External Affairs, JERA Americas; Dr. Pandwe A. Gibson, CEO, EcoTech Visions Inc.; Ralph Cleveland President & CEO, American Association of Blacks in Energy; Albert (AI) Williams, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Chevron; Jerome Ringo, Chairman, Zoetic Global

Preparing the Physician Workforce Today, Bracing for Tomorrow 

  • Summary: The health care industry predicts a shortage of physicians and a surge in demand for health care providers in the next decade – we need a comprehensive health care workforce strategy. Hear what is underlying the physician workforce projections, how proposed legislation can increase the number of physicians, and what it will take to diversify the workforce. Learn about successful federal programs, and how to advocate for increased support for health professions training. Other sessions highlights include the impact of the SCOTUS race conscious admissions decision on medical schools and encouraging more underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in medicine.
  • Participants: Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL-7); Danielle Turnipseed, Chief Public Policy Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges; Ally Perleoni, Manager of Government Relations, AAMC Center for Health Justice; Wanda Lipscomb, Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Michigan State University; Theodore M. Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law; Dr. Jeannette South-Paul, M.D., Chair of the department of Family Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Stop Cop City Press Conference 

  • Summary: Hip Hop Caucus will host a press conference during the CBC ALC to call for continued activism from artists and elected officials, particularly around the pending policy training facility in Atlanta and over policing in Black communities. 
  • Participants: Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President & CEO, The Hip Hop Caucus; Kendrick Sampson, Actor & Activist; Amanda Seales, Actor & Comedian

Driving Towards EV Equity

  • Summary: Electric vehicles continue to become more prevalent in the State of Alabama, and the Southeast as a whole. This panel will explore how we can leverage policies to foster more innovation in the EV space, address market structures, and discuss what EVs mean for equity and advancement for minority communities.
  • Participants: Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL-7); Houston Smith, Vice President of Government Affairs, Alabama Power Company

Meet and Match: How to do Business with the Virgin Islands

  • Summary: Virgin Islands Government Agencies such as the Departments of Education, Tourism, Public Works, Housing Finance, the Economic Development Authority, and the Offices of Disaster Recovery and Management and Budget will be on hand to answer questions, capture, and exchange information on new key stakeholders to take back to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI)

Voting Rights Braintrust: Old Battles, New Lines – Redistricting and the Fight for Fair Representation for Black Americans

  • Summary: This year’s Voting Rights Braintrust will bring together legal, policy, and advocacy experts to discuss the impact of the landmark Allen V. Milligan Supreme Court decision on redistricting cases across the country and the importance of increasing fair representation for Black voters.
  •  Participants: Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL-7); Abha Khanna, Partner, Elias Law Group; Deuel Ross, Deputy Director of Litigation, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Marc H. Morial, President, National Urban League; Maya Wiley, President & CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Cliff Albright, Co-Founder, Black Voters Matter; Evan Milligan, Executive Director, Alabama Forward

Young, Gifted and Black: the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop

  • Summary: A discussion of timely topics affecting the lives of young, talented black youth. 
  • Participants: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA-43)Tip Harris, artist, actor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and podcast Host; Yolanda Whitaker, hip hop entertainer, actress, educator, and philanthropist; Aaron Lindsay, Strategy Analyst, Accenture.

Foreign Affairs on Africa: Our Africa, Our Future

  • Summary: “Our Africa, Our Future” will be a forward-looking discussion on the future of Africa, as envisioned by Africans. Structured as a fireside chat between Rep. Omar, high-ranking African officials, and prominent citizens active in the advancement, progression, and promotion of the continent. The discussion will cover topics such as economic development, impactful infrastructure investment, conflict resolution, cultural appreciation and celebration, post-colonial recovery, the landscape of trade relations, US militarism, the historic impact of sanctions, and consideration of the international community’s ability to and history of responding to humanitarian, economic and climate-related environmental crises.
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-5); Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, World Renowned Writer; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General, World Trade Organization; Patrick Gaspard, President & CEO, Center for American Progress; Janean Davis, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID; Alexia Latortue, Assistant Secretary International Trade and Development, US Treasury.

In addition to CBC members, #ALC52 welcomed celebrities such as Quavo, Sean “Diddy” Combs, LL Cool J, Kofi Siriboe, and Janelle James to the week’s important conversations and festivities. 

Thanks to your participation the event was widely covered, and below are some highlights that capture the main themes and issues that were tackled.

We look forward to seeing you next year!