Upcoming event: The Conversation: “Inclusion Always Matters: How to Navigate the New ‘Now’”


 Let us not forget — 1619

UnityFirst.com presents a virtual conversation on August 20, 2020:  

To recognize the first enslaved Africans who landed in Virginia -August 20, 1619); 

To remember Black women who advanced the women’s movement well before the 1920 vote; and, 

To inspire new ways for engaging in social action while learning about the history we need to know 

UnityFirst.com, which promotes networking, storytelling and diverse news via media related projects relating to diversity, inclusion, and equity, will honor the history that must not be forgotten– the day (August 20) when enslaved Africans landed in 1619 and the legacy of Black women who advanced the women’s movement well before the 1920s vote. 

UnityFirst.com will hold a virtual conversation, “Inclusion Always Matters: How to Navigate the New ‘Now,’” on Thursday, August 20, 2020, from 3 pm to 4:30 pm ET to inspire people today to separate fact from fiction as they engage in social action and learn about history. To register, go to https://www.accelevents.com/e/UFForum

“The conversation will highlight  important, ‘need-to-know’ history and share actions we can take in the new ‘now’  to do better and be better within this time of COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the death of U.S. Representative John Lewis,” said Janine Fondon, President and CEO of UnityFirst.com who has also curated an exhibit — “Voices of Resilience: Women of Color on the Move” at the Springfield Museums, a Smithsonian affiliate. 

The conversation, “How to Navigate the New ‘Now’ features a range of voices from New York to New England and across the U.S. who offer solutions to dismantle systemic racism, promote inclusion that matters and identify new trends shaping diverse communities. Speakers will take us from the past to the future during this authentic conversation from people on the ground. Shared in an impactful, yet brief format, the stories, and insights move us to action and inspire us to make our actions speak louder than our words:

1.Voices of Resilience: What are the most valuable lessons from history that most people don’t want to discuss?

  • Freedom Rider Jean Denton Thompson 
  • Rhea McCauley, the niece of Rosa Parks, 
  • Poet Maria Luisa Arroyo will share a special message 
  • Dr. Mel Albin – legacy of Black wealth
  • Lawrence “Larry” Watson of Berklee College of Music, who created the modern rendition of  the song adopted as the Black national anthem –Lift Every Voice and Sing

2.Economic Empowerment of  Disenfranchised: How do we face the new civil rights movement: Financial Equality?

  • Janice McLean Deloatch, founder and owner of The Black Shopping Networks will discuss the power of supporting diverse businesses and encouraging entrepreneurs.
  • Aziz Gueye Adetimirin, Publisher,  New York’s Network Journal will share the bridges between diverse businesses and new trends showing African Americans moving back to Africa. 

3.The Women’s Vote: From Anna Julia Cooper to the suffragettes — How will women vote today to advance women?

  • Emmy-award winning journalist Carol Jenkins, Co-President and CEO of The ERA Coalition will highlight her work regarding the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

4.Mis-education of Employees, Communities and Markets: What mistakes do we make as we try to be more inclusive and how can we be more intentional with inclusion when the people shaping messages lack the ‘authenticity’ communities expect?

  • Robin Verges, Senior Vice President, Rubenstein, will share the important role of African American Public Relations (PR) professionals — past and present — who work to shape the new narratives that will drive inclusion and equity. 

5.Undoing Racism: What do we need to do to dismantle systemic racism — from the ballot to the vote and from the protest lines to the challenges of leadership?

  • Journalist Greg Palast will walk us through ways to protect your ‘vote’
  • Charles Blatcher, Founder of  the National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations, references the importance broadening the leadership narrative with Black military history and today’s Black Lives Matter movement  
  • Civil Rights Attorney Arnold J. Lizana III (Atlanta, GA)

“The conversations we have during this event will offer new insights on the less known history and provide a different lens to examine the new narratives needed to drive inclusion and equity — as well as usher in  the  new ‘now,’” said Janine Fondon, President and CEO of UnityFirst.com who will moderate with her daughter, Nikai Fondon. 

Project collaborators include Double XXposure Media Relations, NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (New England), Girls Inc of the Valley, UnityFirst.com, National Coalition of Black Veterans and the nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Springfield Museums.  

To attend the event: register at https://www.accelevents.com/e/UFForum

For sponsorship opportunities, including the event online resource guide, contact Janine Fondon at jfondon@unityfirst.com or (413) 221-7931.