I had the amazing opportunity to cover the Black Congressional Caucus 47th Annual Legislative Conference in September. The conference covered topics such as music, social justice, education, economics, politics and more. I had the opportunity to sit in two panels. The first panel was hosted by Senator Cory Booker and Reverend Al Sharpton. Senator Cory Booker opening remarks encourage the audience to get involved in politics and to wake their neighbors up. Reverend Al Sharpton encourage the audience to keep marching and that march doesn’t solve the problem, but marching exposes the problem.
The second panel was hosted by the incredible Congresswoman Maxine Water (Auntie Maxine). The panel titled “Young, Gifted and Black”, included celebrity panelists Angela Rye, T.I, Vic Mensa, Raheem DeVaugn, David Banne, RA the MC, Malik Yusef and Tweet. All of the panelist talked about the adversity they experienced throughout their lives. The panelist encourage youth to use the resources around them, to support each other and to let the no’s motivate them to keep following their dreams.
Young, Gifted and Black Panel
Angela Rye added that the purpose of the conference is not about feeling good, but the conference gives us marching orders when we go out and leave. T.I. concluded the panel discussion by telling the audience that in order to make your dreams come true, one must find their true purpose and live that to the fullest. He mentioned that everyone in the audience has something inside, that there is a fortune in their mind, in their head and all they need to do is find a way to get it out. He also highlighted that true success is when preparation meets opportunity. He encouraged everyone to practice their gift and to be ready at any moment.
The Black Congressional Caucus 47th Annual Legislative Conference not only inspired me, but it motivated me to keep following my dreams and to have confidence in myself. It was truly an honor to sit in the same room as Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senator Cory Booker, Congresswoman Maxime Weber, T.I, Angela Rye and so many other celebrities, lawyers, politicians, and activists who life work has been to fight for equality, representation, and justice.
Although this political climate can be very discouraging for many people including myself, the Black Congressional Caucus Conference reminded everyone that we too can make a difference and move the needle for a better tomorrow. Regardless who the President is, we cannot let him discourage us, if anything we need to resist every day, continue to ask questions, get on the phone and call our representatives and senators, shed a light on EVERYTHING that the Trump administration and Congress does. We must continue to stay in engage in every part of the political process: local, state and national and also give back to our communities. We will continue to rise every day and I hope you are ready to continue the fight!
Zaniya is a sophomore at the Catholic University of America. Zaniya has won two national contest within a year. In the summer of 2015, Zaniya was chosen 1 out of 3 student-athletes in the United States to travel with the NBPA and NBA on an amazing community service trip to South Africa. Recently, Zaniya was a co-winner of First Lady Michelle Obama and Seventeen Magazine Better Make Room National Contest. She interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama and appeared on the cover of the May issue of Seventeen Magazine. Zaniya served on the New Jersey National Guard Teen Panel for six years, where she helped to create programs, camps, and trips for military kids. She is also the founder of the YesWeCanCampaign. Learn more about Zaniya on the Meet Our Blog Writers page.