Nearly 1,000 African American women from all over the country convened at the Power Rising Summit in Atlanta, Georgia from February 22nd to 24th, 2018. Summit attendees came together to remind each other of our collective and individual power. Attendees included seasoned political operatives like Donna Brazile and rising political stars like Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams. Other stars in attendance, included Jennifer Lewis of Blackish who spoke with attendees about self-care and mental health issues, and Emmy Award-winning actress and 93 years young icon Cicely Tyson, who stunned the room during her one-on-one interview.
On Day 2 of the Summit, leaders used text messaging to collect attendees’ thoughts on topics for Power Rising’s agenda for the next year. Women were persuaded to focus our attention on a few critical areas where exercising our power could change our lives and the planet: namely politics, community building, investment in Black women’s businesses and promoting our health and wellness. Using the mantra, presented by Star Jones, “get 5 on it”, Power Summit attendees pledged to change things through the power of 5. For example, because there is no power in politics without votes and cash, Black women can “get 5 on it” in politics by registering 5 people to vote and making donations to support 5 candidates for office in dollar amounts ranging from $5 to $50 to $5000 or more. (Stacey Abrams probably appreciated this agenda item.)
The Power Rising attendees were urged to uplift themselves by getting 5 on it in health and wellness too. If a black woman can dedicate 5 hours a week to her health by going to the gym, swimming, walking, or taking a yoga class, she can get healthier and exercise more control over her body. On the economic front, black women control over an estimated $1.2 trillion dollars as a group. Attendees pledged to get 5 on our dollars by using our economic power to support 5 Black women-owned businesses to make our communities wealthier.
Since nobody – except another Black woman – understands what Black women have suffered or will face in the U.S., Summit attendees also recognized the importance of using our unique skills and expertise to support and learn from each other. We can get 5 on it by supporting each other and mentoring 5 young women to help them advance and learn from our triumphs and mistakes. Likewise, we can get 5 on our mental health by spending time with a learning from 5 “seasoned sisters”.
The Power Rising Summit urged Black women to create personal plans for action by getting involved in what speaks to them as individuals in politics, community, culture, society, health, wellness, education, and technology.
So what about you? What do you pledge to get 5 on to empower yourself and your community in the next year? Get 5 on it!
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