Power & Policy: A New Era for Black Women

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Oxfam in partnership with Black Women's Roundtable and Mississippi Black Women's Roundtable is hosting their 3rd annual Symposium at Essence. In collaboration with an advisory council made up of Black women leaders across several sectors, we are bringing together some of the region’s and nation’s brightest minds, organizers and policy makers for conversations that centers Black women at the intersection of economic security, health, and the environment.

Featured panelists and speakers

  1. Alexis Anderson-Reed

    CEO, State Voices

    Alexis has been an activist since she was a college student. Driven by the disparities in educational opportunity she encountered growing up in Wisconsin, she co-founded Youth Reclaiming Our Communities (Youth ROC), mobilizing students across the state to press for education finance reform. Since then, she hasn’t stopped working toward a vision of a more inclusive and more equitable society. She has dedicated her career to community organizing, coalition building, public policy, and strategic planning, exemplified by her work on issues of racial and gender equity and the politics of power and privilege.

    Read more about Alexis Anderson-Reed here.

    Hear more from Alexis Anderson-Reed on Twitter

    Photo of Alexis Anderson-Reed
  2. Representative Delisha Boyd

    Louisiana State Legislator

    Read about Representative Delisha Boyd here.

    Hear from Representative Delisha Boyd on Twitter | Instagram

    Photo of Representative Delisha Boyd
  3. Boma Brown-West

    VP, Sustainability & Impactat Credo Beauty;Environmental Justice Advocate

    I am an experienced sustainability leader, with expertise in environmental health, climate, packaging and product circularity, and water. I've advanced ESG solutions across a variety of sectors including food, cosmetics and personal care, household cleaning, apparel, buildings, electronics and household appliances.

    Specialties: Sustainable business strategy and management | Climate risk management and accounting (including scope 3) | Chemicals strategy and management | Environmental policy and regulatory analysis | ESG reporting (e.g. CDP, GRI, SASB) | LCA and material flow analysis

    Hear more from Boma Brown-West on Twitter

    Photo of Boma Brown-West
  4. Cori Bush

    US Congresswoman (St. Louis, MO)

    Congresswoman Cori Bush is a registered nurse, community activist, organizer, single mother, and ordained pastor representing the people of Missouri's First Congressional District. Congresswoman Cori is in her first term in the United States House of Representatives, serving on the House Judiciary Committee - including as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security - and the House Oversight Committee.

    Cori is the first Black woman and first nurse to represent Missouri; the first woman to represent Missouri's First Congressional District; and the first activist from the movement to save Black lives elected to the United States Congress.

    Read more about Cori Bush here.

    Hear more from Cori Bush on Twitter | Instagram

    Photo of Cori Bush
  5. Melanie L. Campbell

    President/CEO, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener, Black Women's Roundtable (BWR)

    Melanie Campbell is president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, and an active leader in the civil rights, women's rights, and social justice movements. Campbell recently celebrated 25 years of service with the NCBCP; she has served as an adviser to US presidents, members of Congress, philanthropists, and corporate, labor, nonprofit, and faith leaders on critical issues impacting Black America.

    Read more about Melanie Campbell here.

    Hear more from Melanie Campbell on Twitter

    Photo of Melanie L. Campbell
  6. Maria Harmon

    Co-director/ co-founder, Step Up Louisiana

    Maria Harmon is from Lake Charles, LA. She is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Step Up Louisiana, a grassroots membership based organization that advocates for economic and education justice across the state of Louisiana. Maria has been organizing since the age of 16 with the Junior Daughters of the Knights of Peter Claver. She has a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Southern University A&M College of Baton Rouge, LA. During her time at Southern, Maria built a network of over 2,000 students to become civically engaged while working with the Louisiana Democratic Party. She helped start Democracy Prep Public School of Baton Rouge by enrolling 192 students for their first school year in 2015-2016. She has also worked for the Micah Project, a federation of the PICO National Network/Faith In Action, in 2016 as a community organizer working in education and civic engagement. 

    Photo of Maria Harmon
  7. Willie Jones

    President/CEO, Dependable Source Corp

    Jackson businesswoman Willie Jones is the president and CEO of Dependable Source Corp., a workforce development center that cultivates solutions to the transportation industry. Launched in 1995, Dependable Source Corp is a respected leader in the transportation industry.

    Dependable Source Corp. of MS has provided experienced, professional and DOT certified commercial drivers to manufacturers, distributors and motor carriers throughout the South. Dependable Source Corp was recognized in 2016 as one of the Largest Minority Owned Businesses in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal and its president, Jones, Top 50 Women in Business 2013.

    Read more about Willie Jones here.

    Hear more from Willie Jones on Instagram

    Photo of Willie Jones
  8. Shamyra Lavigne

    3rd Generation Activist, RISE St. James, Frontline Resource Institute (FRI) Conceptual Committee Member, Environmental Justice Activist, Mental Health Advocate

    Read about Shamyra Lavigne here.

    Hear more from Shamyra Lavigne on Twitter

    Photo of Shamyra Lavigne
  9. Elsa Majimbo

    Comedian; 2023 Forbes 30 under 30

    Read about Elsa Majimbo here.

    Hear more from Elsa Majimbo on Instagram

    Photo of Elsa Majimbo
  10. Heather McTeer Toney

    ED of @BloombergDotOrg's #BeyondPetrochemicals Campaign; Former mayor & EPA RA; author

    Elected at age 27, Heather served as the first African American, first female and youngest mayor of Greenville, Mississippi. Under her leadership, the city emerged from significant debt and focused on sustainable infrastructure repair.

    In 2014, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Southeast Region, where she served until 2017. She led efforts to create and support local environmental justice initiatives, promote clean energy and enhance the quality of work life.

    Read more about Heather McTeer Toney here.

    Hear more from Heather McTeer Toney on Twitter

    Photo of Heather McTeer Toney
  11. Joi Owens Norwood

    Program officer, W. K. Kellogg Foundation

    Read more about Joi Owens Norwood here.

    Hear more from Joi Owens Norwood on Twitter | Instagram

    Photo of Joi Owens Norwood
  12. Roishetta Ozane

    Environmental Justice Champion; Organizer; She Leads Fellow; Founder of The Vessel Project of Louisiana

    Roishetta Sibley Ozane has over a decade of experience representing organizations as a community outreach specialist. She is the Clean Energy Organizing Director with Healthy Gulf for the Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas region. Roishetta is a She Leads Fellow for the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, where she empowers women of color to go out into their communities and make positive change. She is a member of the McNeese State University Black Alumni Association, a member of the National Association of University Women-NAUW, a Participatory Working Group Member for the Hive Fund, a Town Hall Facilitator for Gulf South For A Green New Deal, and an Americorp Vista alum. She has an Associate Degree in Business from Strayer University and a Bachelor’s of General Studies with an emphasis in Behavioral Science from McNeese State University. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Criminal Justice.  Most importantly, she is a mom to 6 very special children, and she is making the world a better place for them.

    Hear more from Roishetta Ozane on Twitter | Instagram

    Photo of Roishetta Ozane
  13. Colette Pichon Battle

    Human Rights Attorney; Climate Advocate; Freedom Fighter

    Colette Pichon Battle (she/her) is the Vision and Initiatives Partner for Taproot Earth. She spearheaded efforts around equitable climate disaster recovery, global migration, community economic development, and energy democracy through the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, an organization that she founded in 2005. 

    Read more about Colette Pichon Battle here.

    Hear more from Colette Pichon Battle on Twitter | Instagram

    Photo of Colette Pichon Battle
  14. Dr. Lakeisha Richardson

    OB-GYN (in the MS Delta)

    Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, F.A.C.O.G. is a well-respected board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist.  She is also a well-known speaker, consultant, and adjunct clinical professor.  In addition, she is a leading expert in sexual dysfunction.  Simply put, her mission is to help women improve their sexual health and wellness.

    Read more about Dr. Lakeisha Richardson here.

    Photo of Dr. Lakeisha Richardson
  15. Ashley Shelton

    Exec Director, Power Coalition

    Ashley K. Shelton is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Power Coalition, a statewide 501c3 table in Louisiana. The Power Coalition uses a broad-based strategy that combines community organizing, issue advocacy, and civic action all while increasing the capacity of community organizations throughout the state to sustain and hold the work.

    Read more about Ashley Shelton here.

    Hear more from Ashley Shelton on Twitter

    Photo of Ashley Shelton
  16. Priscilla Sims Brown

    President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank

    Priscilla Sims Brown is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Amalgamated Bank. Ms. Brown is a multi-national board director and C-suite executive with 30 years of financial services experience. Prior to joining Amalgamated Bank she was the Group Executive for Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where she focused on rebuilding trust and pride in the bank with direct responsibility for end-to-end marketing, branding, stakeholder insights, government and public affairs, and environment and social policy.

    Read more about Priscilla Sims Brown here.

    Hear more from Priscilla Sims Brown on Twitter | Instagram

    Photo of Priscilla Sims Brown
  17. Elaine Welteroth

    Former Editor In Chief - Teen Vogue; Contributing Journalist - Washington Post; Advocate for Black Maternal Health

    Elaine Welteroth is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, producer, and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. In 2017, Welteroth broke new ground as the youngest person and the second African-American to ever hold this title at a Condé Nast publication. She has been credited for reinventing the magazine as the go-to source for socially conscious young people. Prior to Teen Vogue, she held senior editorial positions at Glamour and Ebony. Her writing appears in The New York Times, British Vogue, and The Hollywood Reporter. She has written for the hit show Grown-ish and has appeared on-camera for a range of media outlets including ABC News, Netflix, and Bravo’s new Project Runway where she appears as a judge. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband.

    Hear more from Elaine Welteroth on Twitter | Instagram

    Photo of Elaine Welteroth
  18. Mayor Sharon Weston Broome

    Mayor-President, City of Baton Rouge, LA

    Sharon Weston Broome is a firm believer in achieving progress through inclusion, innovation, and information. 

    Since taking office, Mayor Broome has placed a heavy focus on improving the quality of life for citizens while building resiliency through infrastructure improvements. She has focused on addressing transportation, drainage, public safety, education, economic development, and revitalizing neighborhoods. 

    Mayor Broome is the first female Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. She previously served as a Baton Rouge Metro City Council Member, a Louisiana State Representative, and a Louisiana State Senator.  

    Read more about Mayor Sharon Weston Broome here.

    Hear more from Mayor Sharon Weston Broome on Twitter

    Photo of Mayor Sharon Weston Broome

Advisory Council

Alyse Rooks | Environmental Defense Fund

Cassandra Welchlin | Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable

Colette Pichon-Battle | Taproot Earth

Keecha Harris | Keecha Harris and Associates

Lakeisha White Richardson, MD/ OB-GYN

LaTosha Brown | Black Voters Matter Fund

Malia Cohen | California State Controller

Melanie Campbell | National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Michelle Owens, MD/OB-GYN

Nsombi Lambright | OneVoice

Willie Jones | Dependable Source Corp of Mississippi

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