Blogs Najee's Notes Opinion

NAJEE’S NOTES: News from the Congressional Black Caucus conference

I just returned home from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s national conference on issues impacting African Americans and the global black community in Washington, D.C. The conference was attended by more than 10,000 registered guests who joined thought leaders, legislators, grassroots organizers, influencers and celebrities who engaged in networking, policy sessions and challenging discussions.

Our very own Rep. Karen Bass is this year’s chairperson of the 55-member strong Congressional Black Caucus. Bass and her staff should be commended for helping put together a first-class event. I had the time of my life at the conference which was attended by a who’s who of African-American leaders from Los Angeles that included retired Rep. Diane Watson, L.A. City Councilmen Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson along with civic leaders Kerman Maddox, Dallas Fowler, Pastor K.W. Tulloss, business mogul Karim Webb and Alene Harris, L.A. chair of the National Congress of Black Women, just to name a few.

The California delegation was a strong one with many of us in attendance to demonstrate a strong show of support for Bass, who deserves it. I remember first meeting Bass in 1993 at an anti-liquor store protest she was leading in South L.A. a year after she co-founded the Community Coalition.

Bass has grown and evolved from being one of South L.A.’s greatest community organizers to now one of the most respected and powerful elected officials in the nation. I’ve seen firsthand over the last two decades her passion for being a voice for the underserved and voiceless.

Bass has a bright political future and on behalf of the California delegation I want to personally thank Bass and her district director Darryn Harris and the entire staff of the congresswoman for ensuring her constituents and all those in attendance from across the nation had the best conference experience possible.


Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, was awarded the Harold Washington Award at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner. Each year, the CBCF recognizes extraordinary individuals who, through their efforts and accomplishments, have made significant contributions to society.

The Phoenix Awards Dinner pays tribute to the legacy and achievements of these extraordinary individuals. Traditionally held on the Saturday night of the conference, the Phoenix Awards Dinner celebrates the achievements of the awardees for their exceptional contributions to our communities, our culture and the nation. This dinner is one of the largest gatherings anywhere of African-American political leaders, educators, diplomats and other influential individuals.

Sharpton, in my opinion, gave the best talk of the entire conference during his acceptance speech where he electrified the sold-out dinner by saying “It’s fighting time!” He also said that America is now “at a crossroad” with the upcoming 2020 election.

He called on voters to “stop this back biting and infighting and jealousy and win this battle once and for all.”

On a personal note, the best moment of the entire conference for me was when I sought out and hugged Sharpton at the dinner, we embraced and smiled at each other as brothers should. I’m looking forward to working with him and anyone else that’s sincerely interested in getting President Donald Trump out of office and helping our people improve the quality of their lives.

For more news tips, email me at or follow me on Twitter @najeeali.