Washington, D.C. — The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) today announced that Delegate Donna M. Christensen (D-V.I) and Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) will serve as co-chairs of the 37th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) to be held September 26-29, 2007.
The ALC annually draws more than 20,000 people to the Washington Convention Center for a four-day conference featuring more than 70 issue forums and braintrusts focusing on a wide range of issues impacting African Americans and the African diaspora. Forum topics include education, health care, the environment, economic development, criminal justice, housing, transportation and international affairs. Braintrusts are extended panel discussions resulting in legislative action plans.
The conference also includes a town hall meeting, prayer breakfast and awards dinner, an array of networking events, and an exhibit hall offering free health screenings, a job fair, vendors and book signings. The ALC raises funds for CBCF’s scholarship, fellowship and internship programs as well as its economic development and public health initiatives.
This year’s ALC theme, “Unleashing Our Power,” challenges legislators and citizens to use their collective power to level the playing field for African Americans. The theme also recognizes the historic number of congressional committees and subcommittees led by black lawmakers.
Christensen is chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, and Butterfield is vice-chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. Both serve on the CBCF board and have been instrumental in the foundation’s economic development programs.
“Delegate Christensen and Rep. Butterfield have always been staunch supporters of the Foundation’s activities,” said Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., CBCF’s president and chief executive officer. “I am confident they will plan an ALC filled with dynamic social and policy content that will leave our conference audience well-informed and motivated to make a difference.”
Among the ALC activities planned is a stimulating town hall meeting titled, “Disrupting the Prison Pipeline,” in which a panel of experts will address advocacy and legislative action for those most impacted by the criminal justice system.
In addition to their duties as ALC co-chairpersons, Christensen will also present a session focusing on the ongoing policy and health care challenges related to HIV/AIDS, and Butterfield will host a session examining poverty in rural America. The public may attend any ALC forum at a cost of $5 per person, per day.
“My colleague, Mr. Butterfield, and I want this conference to bring generations of leaders together to reflect on conditions in our communities, share ideas and solutions and enliven our desire for change,” Christensen said.
In December, Butterfield was vital in helping CBCF release a new research study on poverty and race in America that was supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“African Americans must address the countless disparities that affect our quality of life,” Butterfield said. “Coming out of the ALC, we must harness our power and renew our commitment toward strengthening our families and communities.”
The CBCF is a non-partisan, non-profit educational and research institution established in 1976 to promote collaboration among community and business leaders and organized labor to effect positive and sustainable change in the African-American community and African diaspora.