By Lauren Victoria Burke
NNPA Newswire Contributor

In an effort to emphasize measurable policy change with tangible direct action, members of the Congressional Black Caucus will be convening the Congressional Black Caucus National Black Leadership Summit on February 3rd and 4th.

The Summit with include over 400 Black leaders from around the country to discuss critical issues of the day, including the 2020 Census and voting rights. The event was created to “test the strength of our democracy and determine the fate of our nation’s most prominent institutions.”

The event has been defined as “an emergency convening” during a crucial year that includes a pivotal presidential contest. The CBC is organizing the National Black Leadership Summit in partnership with civil rights, labor and social justice organizations.  The event will take place in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, DC.

“We want to make sure people across the country have their voices heard over this day and a half convening. There’s going to be a specific ask of our communities. Very shortly after we will be convening on how to implement that specific ask,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-NJ) at a January 29 press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington reviewing the details of the summit.

“I want to be clear. We stand up, we give back and we get things done. We believe in the people we serve so we are excited that people will come from all over this nation to join us. We know that we have an administration in office that is not standing with us and not fighting with us.  We decided that we needed a movement,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH).

The Congressional Black Caucus is now 55 members, the largest CBC in history and the largest Caucus in Congress.

“We have suffered through the last three years of this administration where we have watched gains that we have made over the last several decades either at risk or an attempt to dismantle.  That is why the year 2020 is extremely important. I’m proud of the work of the CBC,” said Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) who is the current Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

When asked what was special about this particular event compared to other before it, Rep. Watson-Coleman told reporters, “I don’t know where to begin. This is an emergency urgent convening because we look at all of the policy and the attempts regarding this administration, whether it’s access to health care, whether it’s public education, or housing or the climate.  Whatever the issue is we have seen negative and disparate impact on the Black community.

“There have been so many distractions involved because we have an entertainer in charge in the White House who serves to distract from the evil and mean things being done,” added Rep. Watson-Coleman.

There have been many gatherings, convention and convening over the past several decades. But the National Black Leadership Summit has been emphasizing the need for a specific and active push to create substantive policy change in a way events in the past have not.

Each year in September, the CBC Foundation convenes an Annual Legislative Conference for what may sound like a similar event to some. But the CBC 2020 National Black Leadership Summit has been defined as a more specific effort to meld policy talk with related action.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at and on twitter at @LVBurke

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