June 13, 2024



The Root Institute Returns to DC: A Symposium of Black Excellence and Inspiration

3 min read

For the second consecutive year, Washington, D.C., will once again take center stage as the vibrant backdrop for The Root Institute, set to unfold in September. This year, The Root newsroom proudly joins forces with Howard University to host its annual symposium, an event renowned for convening some of America’s brightest Black minds. From influential political figures like Stacey Abrams and revered artists such as Misty Copeland to visionary filmmakers like Ava DuVernay and social justice advocates like Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, this symposium promises to be a gathering of extraordinary minds.

The location of this year’s event at one of the nation’s most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Howard University, adds a special layer of significance. The Root Institute’s team of editors and writers will share the stage with prominent Black luminaries from every corner of the nation, coming together to discuss the state of Black America and chart a path toward a brighter future.

Leaders from various fields, spanning activism, public service, culture, and academia, will converge at Howard’s Armour J. Blackburn University Center for a full day of thought-provoking panels and lectures. The symposium’s agenda promises to explore diverse topics, including arts, business, advocacy, and legislation.

Among the confirmed speakers are a constellation of influential voices:

  1. Brandon Andrews: Co-founder of Gauge, an AI-driven market research platform, and Chairman of the DC Commission on National and Community Service.
  2. Venita Aspen: Star of Bravo’s Southern Charm and a fashion influencer known for her unique style.
  3. Stephen Benjamin: Assistant to the President, Senior Advisor to the President, and Director of the Office of Public Engagement.
  4. Reecie Colbert: Host of The Reecie Colbert Show on Sirius XM Urban View.
  5. Dr. Joia Crear-Perry: Founder and director of the National Birth Equity Collaborative.
  6. Candiace Dillard Bassett: Singer/songwriter, actress, former Miss United States, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac.
  7. Dr. Uché Blackstock: Author and founding CEO of Advancing Health Equity.
  8. Jordan Emanuel: Star of Bravo’s Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, former Miss Black New York, podcast host of Amplified, and co-founder of Women With Voices.
  9. Susan Fales-Hill: Author, trustee of the American Ballet Theatre, and consulting producer/writer of Max’s And Just Like That.
  10. Carla Hall: Television host, chef, author, and creator of Sweet Heritage by Carla Hall.
  11. David J. Johns: Executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.
  12. Nneka Kanu: Attorney and fashion and lifestyle influencer known as the “Queen of Sleeves.”
  13. Don Lemon: Prominent writer, television journalist, and anchor.
  14. Denene Millner: New York Times-bestselling author and host of A Seat at the Table talk show and Speakeasy with Denene podcast.
  15. Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA: CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health.
  16. Oriaku Njoku: Executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds.
  17. Mutale Nkonde: Founding CEO of AI For the People.
  18. Gbolahan (Femi) Olanubi: Senior UX researcher at Google.
  19. Dr. Wendy Osefo: Star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, founder and CEO of the 1954 Equity Project, author, progressive political commentator, and award-winning researcher.
  20. Antjuan Seawright: Founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy, a public relations and political consulting firm, and CBS News political contributor.
  21. Bakari Sellers: Attorney, former state representative of South Carolina, and CNN political commentator.
  22. Jamila Smith-Loud: Research manager of Responsible AI at Google.

The Root Institute is scheduled for Wednesday, September 20, 2023, from 10 am to 5 pm ET, at the Armour J. Blackburn University Center at Howard University, 2397 6th St NW, Washington, DC. General admission tickets are available for $5, while students can attend for free. This year’s event is proudly supported by CareQuest Institute for Oral Health.

As the event date approaches, additional speakers and sessions will be added to the agenda, promising even more depth and diversity in the discussions. It is set to be a day of enlightening discourse, education, and inspiration. For those eager to be a part of this remarkable event, it’s advisable to reserve your spot early. The symposium offers a unique opportunity to engage with some of the most influential Black voices in America, making it an event not to be missed.

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