2024 NC Black Summit, Hosted By NC Black Alliance 

Ms Jheri Worldwide, Staff Writer

Photos by Terrence Jones, Terrence Jones Photography.

The 2024 North Carolina Black Summit hosted by the North Carolina Black Alliance and sponsored by Advance Carolina was an outstanding opportunity for elected officials, community leaders, and mindful citizens to come together and build. It has been a while since I was in the convention center, having these impactful conversations in this beautiful space really amplified the powerful progress already being made in our state capital. This was an exceptional venue for theses essential conversations. There were approximately 150 different action items discussed, from quantum computing to youth voter engagement.

I attended day two of this two day summit. As soon as I walked into the Legislative Town Hall, I heard the Honorable Vernetta Alston of NC House District 29 mention, “they are Counting on us not paying attention.” Immediately I knew I was in the right place. This was the 18th Annual NC Black Summit, and I decided at that moment that I’ll be attending this conference every time they hold sessions moving forward. To be in the company of progressive, motivated, forward-thinking people who look like me brought me overwhelming joy and reassurance that we are focused on the right things. I could tell by the conversations and the comments that we all have different political opinions and thoughts, but the fact that we could all come together to have these conversations and debates peacefully gave me so much hope for us as a people.

In additional to the powerful conversations, the networking opportunities were exceptional. I was thrilled to connect with Montica Talmadge, Director of Leadership Programs at Lillian’s List. Montica shared the following about her experience at the event, “The Black Summit is one of the most affirming, uplifting, and inspiring spaces that Advance and the Black Alliance provides to our community. Elected Officials, Operatives, and Community Leaders all come together to learn from one another, share with one another and fellowship with one another. We renew friendships and make new ones. I look forward to this event every year!”

One of my favorite elements was the Senator Jeanne H. Lucas Luncheon presented by Google. Courtney Crowder, Executive Director of the North Carolina Black Alliance, honored several History Makers, stating that, “we value your voice and honor your commitment.” One person that stood out was the Honorable Ronald Penny, Secretary of the NC Department of Revenue. During his remarks, the Honorable Ronald Penny suggested that we should, “take the learning of our mind to the passions of your heart.”

The learning and educating taking place from the thoughtful leadership present allowed us all to share in a collective vision and channel persistence. The whole event was grounded in justice and making a lasting impact. There was a shared passion for building and creating things we can continue to build on. There was no one at this event, it was all about the whole. I realized as I listened there are so many people doing the work however, this is not is amplified or praised and we know why. Our brightest showed up and out! There was intergenerational leadership taking place and it was beautiful to witness.

The final keynote was the one and only Amanda Seales. Amanda did her job! She spoke on “carrying forth a concept of Blackness” but also evolving what it means to be black. Amanda challenged our thinking and asked us what black truly means to us. To her it means power, to uplift, and she definitely did that for us in the convention center. She emphasized that there is nothing new about black excellent and that we have always been excellent. I was glad to hear her speak on togetherness stating, “after you there is us” and putting our ego to side to come together, focusing on “what it is and what it aint.”

My biggest takeaway from the day is the fact that there are so many leaders and organizations working to uplift our community that we don’t even really know about unless you’re completely tapped in, which for most of us with jobs and responsibilities isn’t possible. This is why these events are so essential so we can tap in and support everyone’s efforts. A great example is the NC Black Alliance Summer Camp. Did you know there is a week long summer institute designed to change, challenge and charge youth through leadership, character, and career development activities? Me either! This event created by Advance Carolina’s Executive Director Marcus Bass is the type of opportunity to help guide and direct our youth and give them access to spaces and conversations that can help make change in our community. I learned so much at this event, and I encourage everybody to connect with the organizations mentioned and join us next year. I will be there!

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