It began with an African chant followed by libations to recognize and honor the ancestors. Chief LeTava Mabilijengo welcomed those who had come out and talked about the purpose for this first-time in Baltimore conference. She had a very relevant message for not only the sisterhood present, but also the brothers in attendance as well.
This conference, held at Baltimore’s Coppin Academy High School, brought together people from all over including Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and Cameroon, Africa. There was representation from all age groups, truly inter-generational, from infants to seniors.
Workshops presented focused upon the topics: Motherhood and Teaching Our Daughters Sisterhood and The Historic and Modern Value of Black Women. The facilitators were Shawna Murray-Browne and Baba Achebe Turner, respectively.
During the Motherhood workshop, attendees discussed the characteristics of healthy mothers and the sisterhood. This was followed by a lively discussion of the consequences when those traits are not met. Next, came a reflective activity in which participants devised their own plan of action as they interact with others as sisters, mothers, mentors and teachers. As some participants allowed themselves to open up and be exposed, emotions flooded and tears flowed, for the purpose of cleansing and healing.
Participants attended the conference for a variety of reasons.
Tatianna Nchotu, a Health Care Management/Business/Spanish major from Towson State, was sent an email about the event, by a friend, and decided to come through to check out the conference. She recently started a healthy diet and is documenting her journey.
Gladys Morrow learned abou the event through Morgan State University’s WEAA radio station and came with an expectation for an understanding of how Black people will deal with the situations in the county today. She wanted to know how we should be getting along better within the races.
Jacqueline Alston, another attendee, found out about the conference via Facebook. She said she is a supported of Sis. LaTava and wanted to hear her speak. She wanted to know about uncovering solutions, or a plan of action, to build Black sisterhood and motherhood.
Another conference participant, Shannadora Hollis, was also a part of the Black Women’s Agenda. She was interested in dialogue about what’s going on now and getting to the source of problems.
Whatever the reason for attending, the conference-goers appeared to be learning from and enjoying it all.
Vendors were also on hand, touting their various wares, which included jewelry, handmade soaps, scented candles, crocheted hats and scarts, clothing, and herbal teas, to name a few.
Chief Mabilijengo spoke about the Black Women’s Agenda and the importance of embracing and supporting each other in our efforts toward self-development and unity. She travels all over the country, promoting the Black Women’s Agenda.
The conference focused upon mental, physical, spiritual as well as psycho-motor enlightenment and development. After a complimentary lunch, participants exercised their bodies by participating in a belly-dancing session.
Attendees who still had questions were encouraged to participate in a Q&A session, as the conference began to conclude.
This writer enjoyed the event and looks forward to this conference becoming an annual event as its territory continues to become enlarged.