Before the 2016 election, Sara Lomax-Reese, president and CEO of WURD Radio, attended a roundtable event with Philadelphia’s black community leaders. They discussed Hillary Clinton’s campaign and how to ensure the African American community participate in the election.
“I [was] one of maybe two or three women [at the conference],” she recalls. “And one of the men said that Hillary Clinton should pay more attention to issues that mattered to black people because black women don’t care about Planned Parenthood.
“My eyes rolled into the back of my head at that,” she says. “I said that, ‘You know, black women do care about Planned Parenthood and if they don’t, they should.’”
That interaction was Lomax-Reese’s “wake-up call” that real, honest conversations needed to be held among black women and girls, especially in the current political climate. Now she has designed an event to bring about an intergenerational discussion about what it means to be a black woman during the Trump presidency.
Sister Power: The Future of Feminism will be held at The Philadelphia High School for Girls this Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m. (It’s free and open to the public, but attendees must RSVP here.). Though the event is going to be about black women and girls, everyone in the community is invited to attend.
“This is for men and boys, too,” Lomax-Reese says. “Though we’re looking at feminist views, we hope to attract everyone so we can have a real conversation.”
The event will feature a panel of women, including Joann Bell, founder of the Black Women’s Leadership Council and Dr. Imani Perry, professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University. It will cover political empowerment, arts and culture; the meaning of an all-girls education; activism and gender studies; and audience members will have the opportunity to ask the panel relevant questions.
Lomax-Resse says an event like this is especially important now. There are never cut-and-dry answers to a topic as intricate as the future of African American women and girls. Lomax-Reese says it’s important to foster an ongoing inter-generational dialogue and to acknowledge that the voices of black women are important, and that black girls and women have their own unique agenda.
How can members of the Philadelphia community support one another after the event? Lomax-Reese believes it starts with collaboration, and she hopes Sister Power will be a place where individuals can connect for the good of the community and find collective opportunities to move forward.
“Obviously we’re not going to leave this event with a whole political platform in place,” she says. “But we want to allow people to create their own action plans and have a collective opportunity to move forward.”
Students at Girls High will be volunteering at the event. The school’s choir will perform and students will also display artwork.Header photo by Johnny Silvercloud via Flickr