Originally published 3/10/2017 at 06:00a.m., updated 3/9/2017 at 02:16p.m.
A one-day empowerment conference for women of African descent featuring a host of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities, is planned for Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys in Baltimore. The fourth biennial, “Spirit of A Woman Conference,” promises to tackle issues of the mind, body and the pocketbook, according to conference organizers.
“The goal is to empower women to improve their quality of life through intellectual, physical and financial enlightenment,” said Francena Bean- Waters, the founder and co-chair of the conference. “Attendees [will] include an intergenerational group of professionals, business owners, educators, collegiate students, politicians, community and civic leaders, homemakers, coworkers, colleagues, friends and women from shelters.
Reverend Cecelia Williams Bryant, the dean of the International College of Intercession, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the event which begins at 9 a.m. Presenters will include:
educator and author, Dr. Hattie Washington; certified health coach Dr. Brenda T.Bradley; and author Deborah Owens.
Designed to empower women in their efforts to achieve and maintain their full potential, to prepare the next generation, to strengthen the black community, and to support the Greater Baltimore Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and its operations, community service projects and programs, the conference pays homage to the legacies of Mary McLeod Bethune and Dorothy Height.
“Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune as founder of the NCNW was an educator, stateswoman, humanitarian, civil rights activist and philanthropist. Bethune also founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls which later became co-educational and renamed Bethune-Cookman College, now Bethune-Cookman University,” Bean- Waters said. “NCNW was made-up of
African American women's clubs and organizations to combat racial, class, and gender discrimination worldwide. Bethune was known as ‘The First Lady of The Struggle’ because of her commitment to better the lives of African Americans.”
Height was an administrator, educator, and a civil rights and women’s rights activist who focused primarily on improving the circumstances of and opportunities for African-American
women and the conference embodies the legacy of Bethune and Height.
“[The conference] is dedicated to NCNW’s commitment ‘Four for the Future’; Education, Healthy Lifestyles, Financial Literacy and Fostering Traditional Values,” Bean-Waters said. “Therefore, the Greater Baltimore Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. has been involved in advancing opportunities and quality of life for African-American women, their families,associate members and communities through advocacy, community services and personal development programs since 1943.”
The event will include topics that reach out to women in the community, said Julia S. Winborne, the GBS-NCNW president.
For women of color, the importance of the event cannot be understated, according to Bean-Waters.
“We have to know our community and work individually and/or together to make changes. We have to make a difference in the community in both political and non-political actions through
civic engagement/civic participation,” Bean-Waters said. “We must sponsor and participate in community service projects, activities, events and programs such as: train professionals and nonprofessionals, build networking skills, volunteer, organize civic activities, after school programs and fairs, public speaking and distribute informational materials.”
For more information about the conference or to register, visit: www.gbsncnw.com.