Keisha N. Blain — Wake Up America: Black Women on the Future of Democracy - Panel discussion with Atima Omara, Donna Brazile & Senator Laphonza Butler moderated by Soyica Diggs Colbert — at Conn Ave

Upcoming Event
Saturday, February 17, 2024 - 5:00pm

This event is in partnership with the Washington Literacy Center.

In 1968, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer called for Americans to “wake up” if they wanted to “make democracy a reality.” Today, as Black communities continue to face challenges built on centuries of discrimination, her plea is increasingly urgent. In this exhilarating anthology of original essays, Keisha N. Blain brings together the voices of major progressive Black women politicians, grassroots activists, and intellectuals to offer critical insights on how we can create a more equitable political future.

These women draw on their diverse experiences and expertise to speak to three core themes: claiming civil and human rights, building political and economic power, and combating all forms of hate. We hear from Black Lives Matter cofounder Alicia Garza, who argues that Black communities must organize to wield increased political power; EMILYs List president Laphonza Butler, who spells out ways to fight for women’s reproductive rights; and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who delineates practical, thorough steps toward tangible reparations. Additional incisive essays include those by former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner; prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba; disability rights activist Andraéa LaVant; Boston’s first woman and first Black mayor, Kim Michelle Janey; and others at the forefront of the ongoing fight for social justice.

In addressing our most pressing issues and providing key takeaways, Wake Up America serves as a blueprint for the steps we can take right now and in the years to come.

Keisha N. Blain is professor of Africana studies and history at Brown University. She is a columnist for MSNBC, a Guggenheim Fellow, and author—most recently of the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Until I Am Free. She lives in Providence, RI.

Atima Omara is the founder and principal strategist for Omara Strategy Group—a consulting firm working at the intersection of electoral politics and issue advocacy with progressive candidates and organizations. She has appeared frequently on television and a number of publications including MSNBC, CNN, PBS, and NPR. Atima is an award-winning leader, strategist, and advocate who has worked as staff for a number of Democratic federal, state, and local political campaigns across the country as well as led local, state, and national campaigns and organizations focusing on reproductive rights and justice, labor, voting rights, and criminal justice reform. From 2013-15 Atima was elected and has served as President of the Young Democrats of America (YDA), the first Black person (and only fifth woman) to do so in its history, and is currently one of Virginia’s elected representatives to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Donna Brazile is a veteran political strategist, Senior Advisor at Purple Strategies, New York Times bestselling author, Chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and sought-after Emmy- and Peabody-award-winning media contributor to such outlets as ABC News, USA Today, The Hill and theGrio. She became the first African American woman to serve as the manager of a major party presidential campaign, running the campaign of former Vice President Al Gore. She previously served as interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee and of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. She is author of the 2004 best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics and the 2017 New York Times Bestseller Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump In The White House. She is a current member of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. She serves as an adjunct professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department at Georgetown University and served as the King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University and as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.

Senator Laphonza Butler is a trailblazer fighting for the American worker, the fundamental freedoms of all people, and the future that our next generations deserve. She was sworn in as the Democratic junior U.S. Senator from the State of California on October 3rd, 2023. Senator Butler is the first former labor leader to serve in the U.S. Senate in nearly 60 years. She is also the first openly LGBTQ black female U.S. Senator in American history. Prior to her appointment to the Senate, Senator Butler was president of EMILYs list, which is dedicated to electing Democratic pro-choice women. During her tenure, EMILYs list recruited and supported over 600 women to run for elected office. Prior to leading EMILYs list, Senator Butler served as a strategist to organizations, companies and candidates including playing a key role in Holly Mitchell’s campaign for LA Supervisor.

This event will be moderated by Soyica Diggs Colbert. Soyica Diggs Colbert is the Idol Family Professor of African American Studies and Performing Arts at Georgetown University; author of the award-winning Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry (Yale University Press); contributor to The New York TimesWashington Post, Public Books, and American Theatre; and Associate Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Colbert is also a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow.

This event is free with first come, first served seating.

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
Non Fiction
Wake Up America: Black Women on the Future of Democracy By Keisha N. Blain Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324065609
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 13th, 2024