Healing, educating and empowering women, men and youths, while facilitating an open dialogue about moving the Black family forward were the topics of the third annual Family Summit hosted by Sisters Saving Ourselves Now, Aug. 15-16, at the CCAC South Campus on Clairton Boulevard in West Mifflin. The theme was “Enhance Health and Well-Being of the Black Family—Committed to Healing, Education and Empowering.”
With continuing violence impacting Black communities, especially Black-on-Black shootings and incidents like the recent police shooting of Michael Brown, Rev. Dr. Judith Moore, SSON CEO and founder, and pastor of Greater Allen AME Church, said this summit was very timely.
“This wasn’t just a come in and have a dialogue (session). It’s like, what now can we do to move forward in terms of the Black family?” she said. “We want to convene like minded organizations, resources, people and leaders to sit at the same table and figure out how we can make a greater impact.”
Approximately 70 individuals enjoyed the two-day event sponsored by the Heinz Endowments. The annual event included entertainment by the Kummba African Drummers and Christian rapper The Real LIMS, along with special guests such as Alichia Parker, president and founder of A PAR Educational LLC; Quintin Bullock, president of the Community College of Allegheny County; and Lueana Coward of Recognizing Every Lingering Inward Emotional Feeling and who lost three of her sons to Black-on-Black violence, all before the age of 20.
The summit’s keynote speakers were Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network, who gave the executive summary of where Black women are 15 years later, and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant, who gave a personal perspective of the Black family from what she sees day to day.
Reverend Moore said participants were charged with going back to their communities and seeing what they can do to bring people together in hopes that they may “begin to say we’ve had enough of the violence and we want our kids to thrive, not just survive.” She said those same participants are expected to report back to the organization.
SSON, Rev. Moore said, plans to take the information received from the summit and from the evaluations they did, and go back to the various communities to begin moving them forward.
“Collectively, if we came together, (imagine) how much more powerful and how much we can reach out to others.”
SSON began in 2006 by women who were coming out of the seminary and wanted to have a greater impact on other women of color. Besides the summit, the organization also facilitates its All Moms Are Blessed ministry for single mothers and its Girls Excel on Purpose, which empowers girls with the skills needed to be resilient through matching them with high school and college role models.
(For information on Sisters Saving Ourselves Now, call 412-303-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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