Every year the Congressional Black Caucus takes over DC during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. From receptions to social mixers, CBC Week is filled with so many events that it’s hard to choose which ones to attend. This year I kept it a bit low key, popping into a few mixers and networking events. But there was one event that I couldn’t miss. The Inaugural Congressional Black Caucus Closing Brunch presented by Let’s Do Brunch NYC, Digital Divas and DC’s Akil Waite at the ever so chic Barcode Restaurant & bar in downtown DC was a must-go.
The theme of the brunch was “women in leadership breaking the glass ceiling” so it was no surprise that the afternoon started with a rousing prayer from the first woman to found an American Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers. Prayer was followed by author and business woman Carolyn Clark-Graves sharing her journey as a woman who was adopted. She touched on our power as women and how to nurture it. “The goal is wholeness, that is where our power lies”. She also signed copies of her book “Postcards from Cookie” for the attendees.
Unlike some CBC “related” events, this event actually had a member of the Congressional Black Caucus in attendance. Ladavia Drane, Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus, served as the afternoon’s keynote speaker. She had us recall some of our favorite and most memorable African American female congress members like Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan. This served as a reminder that we should be proud of who we are. “Don’t be ashamed to be ‘Sheniqua'” she said. She reiterated that “the numbers are in our favor”.
One of my favorite moments of the afternoon was when the Mistress of Ceremonies and CEO of IAmSuperGorge.com, Ashley Silva, admitted that her decision to be apart of the event was because it was unchartered territory for her and she wanted to become more familiar with politics. She then asked Congresswoman Drane about how to get young girls more involved. The Congresswoman said that education is essential.
The program ended with the organizers, Marcella Ferguson-Gay and Rahesha Harrison sharing their three requests of the attendees (other than continuing to enjoy the amazing food lol). Their requests were to meet at least two people you didn’t already know, smile at least once and to leave better off than you came. To say that the experience was rewarding would be an understatement. To be in the presence of so many amazing women with incredible strength living out their purpose was inspiring and empowering. I look forward to being a part of the annual event for years to come.