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Hampton Roads Community News

IBWC Prepares for 33rd Women’s Conference

The International Black Women’s Congress (IBWC) will hold its 33rd annual conference Sept. 22-24 at the Wyndham Oceanfront Hotel in Virginia Beach.

The conference will feature at least two dozen scholars who will speak on various social, political, and economic issues. Three keynote speakers will address the group: Dr. Sharon Bailey from the Denver Board of Education; Constitutional law professor Gloria Browne-Marshall from John Jay School of Justice in New York; and Dr. Rosalind Jeffries, an African Art historian and evangelist. Seven awards will be presented. This year’s conference theme is Treading Muddy Waters: Reclaiming Social Justice.

“A group of people from around the country sent in ideas for this year’s conference theme,” said Dr. La Francis Rodgers-Rose, founder and CEO of the International Black Women’s Congress. “I took a little of this and that from each suggestion so that our theme would be as comprehensive as possible.”

The conference will critically examine the ongoing events of 2017. More than 400 years of “hard work and sacrifice are being dismantled,” she added. “More than 25 national scholars and activists will identify strategies that can be implemented to improve the well-being of people of African ancestry as we tread muddy waters.”

Conference speakers will also challenge the disillusionment that some young people of color may be experiencing, said Rodgers-Rose who has more than 30 years of teaching experience, having taught at Case Western Reserve, Rutgers, and the University of Pennsylvania. She taught African American Studies at Princeton University for 16 years, and most recently at Drew University.

“These are challenging times,” Rodgers-Rose added. “It didn’t happen yesterday. While we do not plan to call specific names at the conference, we will deal with the fact that many of the challenges we are currently facing are not new. We plan to deal with our current times and circumstances.”

Rodgers-Rose is a founding member and past president of the Association of Black Sociologists and the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists. She said experts will highlight landmark studies in an effort to address some of the challenges that many people of color face including high unemployment, police misconduct, and disparities in health, economics, and education.

Rodgers-Rose has been honored by the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women with their highest award, the Noble/Women International Leadership Award. She also received the Essence Magazine Woman of the Month award. She is a clinical sociologist, professor, community leader, consultant and author, is a graduate of Morgan State University, Fisk University and the University of Iowa.

Here is the schedule for the keynote speakers:
Dr. Sharon Bailey from the Denver Board of Education will speak Friday at 9 a.m. on “Dreams Deferred: The Status of African American Education.” Constitutional law professor Gloria Browne-Marshall from John Jay School of Justice New York will speak Saturday at 9 a.m. on “Race, Law, and American Society: The Ongoing Struggle for Justice.” The Sunday speaker at 11 a.m. will be Dr. Rosalind Jeffries, an African Art historian and evangelist, who will speak on “African Spirituality and Social Justice.”

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Here are this year’s award recipients: The organization’s highest honor, the Oni Award will be given to: Maizelle Brown, renowned Norfolk artist; Gloria Browne-Marshall, JD of New York City; Sumayya Coleman, National Consultant on Domestic Violence from Nashville, Tenn.; Annette Mbaye D’Erneville, founder of the Women’s Museum Henriette Bathily of Senegal, West Africa; Maxine Mimms, Ph.D., founder of the Evergreen State College-Tacoma Campus; and Maisha Sullivan Ongoza, former director, Mayor’s Office on Families and Children, Philadelphia, Pa.

Aaron David Gresson III, Ph.D., emeritus psychology professor, Penn State University and author of The Recovery of Race in America will receive the organization’s Encircle Award, which is given to a male who supports the values and vision of IBWC

The conference starts at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 22, concludes on Sunday Sept. 24 at 1 p.m., and is open to the public.

Please call (757) 625-0500 to register by phone. Visit the website at www.ibwc.us

By Rosaland Tyler
Associate Editor

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