Weekend highlight: Black Girls Rock! Brings Black Girls Lead

Visited Columbia’s Barnard College, as they played host to a room full of talented teenage girls at the Black Girls Rock! Black Girls Lead Conference. Taking place Thursday July 28-Sunday July 31, the weekend’s most powerful event brought together young black teens from across the world for inspiring panels filled with successful female leaders, educational upliftment on everything from managing finances to brand development, and spiritual strengthening with morning yoga and meditation.

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Helping to open the conference was Black Girls Rock 4 Justice. An amazing panel curated by Black Girls Rock founder and CEO Beverly Bond, moderated by yours truly :+) with a few of our amazing friends. Principal Nadia Lopez of Mott Hall Academy; activist Tamika Mallory, of the NY Justice League, journalist and activist Michaela Angela Davis, publicist Autumn Marie creating PR for change , and my first time having the honor of meeting Malcolm X’s daughter, author Ilyasah Shabazz. We discussed everything from false media narratives and embracing the responsibilities of leadership in the Black Lives Matter movement, to dealing with trauma and anger in response to repeatedly witnessing injustice.

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From left to Right: Tamika Mallory, Autumn Marie, Ilyasah Shabazz, Beverly Bond, Michaela Angela Davis, Raqiyah Mays, Nadia Lopez

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I was super excited about “Meet The Press” moderated by the amazing Rhonesha Byng of Heragenda.com with a list of stellar black female journalist veterans like Akiba Solomon, Editorial Director of Colorlines; Nekesa Moody, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor of The Associated Press; Daily Beast Columnist and “Being Mary Jane” writer, Kelli Goff; and Donna Byrd, publisher of TheRoot.com.BGR Pic 6

Other panels included “Girls Rock Teck,” a conversation with leading experts and innovators in technology; “Black Girl Magic,” a curated panel featuring YouTube Black creatives; and “Black Women in the White House” a talk with top ranking women in Obama’s administration. The Black Girls Lead Conference was not only the place to be, but also a place of necessity for nurturing young black women preparing to lead this world to the better place it needs to be. So happy to have witnessed and been a part of it. Beverly Bond summed it up best.

“Our current social, political and cultural climate is an example of the dire need for our community to pull together and work toward collaborative solutions that empower Black youth to be their bravest, brightest, best and most authentic selves,” she said. “I have deep gratitude for the incredible people in my village who understand the critical importance of investing in our young women to help them recognize their agency, understand the power of their voices and prepare them to become 21st century leaders who stand and deliver.”

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