Last week was capped with an incredible experience I wish I could live every day: The Power Rising Summit. For three days 1,000 black women, representing nearly all 50 states, gathered in Atlanta to lift one another and to create an actionable agenda to maximize our economic and political power. I have never been so humbled to be a presenter at any event and was thrilled to share the stage with five powerhouse writers at Saturday's Author Showcase Luncheon: Luvvie Ajayi, Beverly Bond, Veronica Chambers, Brittney Cooper, and our moderator Dawn Davis, VP & Publisher of 37 INK.
But the highlight of the event for me was the opportunity to meet the indelible Cicely Tyson, who shared countless words of wisdom including her response to the question, "When did you know that you had arrived? Ms. Tyson said, "As soon as you think you've arrived, you're in trouble."
The fact that this was a convening for, by, and about black women made it particularly unique. Power Rising was not the brainchild of a corporate marketer. It was birthed by a steering committee of some of the most influential organizers in the nation. I've attended countless women's conferences and events in my lifetime, but there were several aspects of Power Rising I had never experienced before. First, there was the joy. I have never walked into a conference ballroom at 9am to find hundreds of people having an impromptu dance party to Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real."
Then, there was the palpable familiarity. Like when a t-shirt vendor asked myself and the woman next to me if everyone at the summit knew each other. I'd never seen the woman before in my life, but we both smiled at him and simultaneously said, "Yes." Then add the children. Women brought their babies, which makes so much sense given that we have them. Finally, there was the unwavering commitment to action. There were no talking heads—only leaders hell bent on taking care of business for ourselves, our communities, and the nation.
We all left with a doable set of deliverables: register five women to vote, support five black women running for office, do five hours of community service, support five black businesses, and engage in five hours of cross-generational mentoring. I'd also add buy five books by black women and if you need a jumpstart order Cooper's Eloquent Rage and Bond's Black Girls Rock: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. If every American took these same actions, we would all be power rising.