This week I am attending the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Convention in DC. The CBC ALC is always my favorite convention of the year! The “Who’s Who” of Black America gathers in DC for the week to discuss policy, challenges that face our community and country, and, most of all, solutions; and I enjoy every minute of it! Everybody is there: elected officials on all levels—city, county, state and federal, civil servants, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, entertainers, nonprofit workers, community activists, educators, athletes, the clergy…I mean everybody! I love the event for all that it offers: interesting sessions and speakers, engaging forums, interesting programs, delightful receptions, great parties, the networking, and, of course, the black tie gala featuring the President of the United States!

Today I will be moderating the session “Blacks and Latinos: Our Quest for Civil Rights.” Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) organized this session and invited me to participate. I am delighted to do so and lead this important and timely discussion.

To all of you political and community activists, if you are in DC and attending the convention, I invite you to join us at the Washington Convention Center, Room 209A, at 1 pm today. The Congressman’s office has assembled an impressive group of panelists, who are some of the top professionals in their respective fields. These panelists have a wealth of knowledge to offer in proposing how the African American and Latino communities can be more successful in working together to create social change. I look forward to having a great discussion!

“Blacks and Latinos: Our Quest for Civil Rights.”

Honorary Host:

Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-4)

The session will focus upon the commonalities, relationships, and shared struggles of the African American and Latino American communities. The plight of African Americans and Latinos often intersect as both share economic, political, social and cultural ties in this country. With the “browning” of this country, it will become increasingly important for cross-cultural, multi-racial and ethnic coalitions to form a powerful and collaborative political base in this country. This session will explore the myriad ways our communities can create synergies and be effective advocates for change affecting our communities.

Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., (GA-4) Host

Ramona Houston, PhD, PMP, Moderator

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Deputy Vice President, National Council of La Raza – Ms. Martinez’s expertise is in immigration legislative advocacy and strategy; Latino electorate, voter mobilization, and civic participation; state advocacy efforts; coalition-building; and management. She has a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in diplomacy and world affairs from Occidental College.

Donald Cravins, Executive Director of the Washington Bureau, National Urban League – Donald Cravins, Jr. serves as the National Urban League’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director of the Washington Bureau. Mr. Cravins leads the development of the National Urban League’s policy, research, and advocacy agenda.

Hernando Viveros Cabezas, President & CEO, Afro Colombian Global Initiative

Guesnerth Josue Perea, Director of Communications, Afro-Latino Forum – Guesnerth Josue Perea has spoken about issues regarding race and social justice for the Inter-American Foundation, the National Urban League, NAACP, and the LATISM Conference and has been a guest on the Spanish-language political talk show Pura Politica which airs on NY1 Noticias. His insights on social media as a tool for change were published in Just BE Cause: Ah Ha Moments to Inspire the Next Generation of Change Makers. In 2010, Josue was named by the newspaper am New York as one of five Colombians “making a mark” in New York City. Josue holds degrees in Latin American History and Theology.

Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director, U.S. Department of Commerce/Minority Business Development Agency – Ms. Castillo is the first Hispanic-American woman to lead the Agency since its creation. Ms. Castillo directs the Agency’s strategic efforts to enhance the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises (MBEs).

Carol Frazer Haynesworth- Founder of Flourish & Bloom Entertainment – Ms. Haynesworth is a marketing executive, executive producer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and published author. Founder of Black in the World (blackintheworld.net) and Flourish & Bloom Entertainment; a premiere management agency for non-profits, talent booking agency and production company.

Kevin Gilbert, Executive Committee, National Education Association – Mr. Gilbert has worked as an educator for more than 18 years. He currently serves as coordinator of teacher leadership and special projects for the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, Mississippi. Prior to serving on the NEA Executive Committee, he served as president of the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) from 2007-2013.

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