About BWA


A disproportionate number of black women are represented within statistics related to poverty, and lack access to economic and educational opportunity. The Black Women’s Agenda (BWA) is devoted to advancing, securing, and protecting the rights of these women. Constantly, the women of BWA strive to acquire greater understanding and cooperation about issues that affect all women and their families, while searching for new knowledge and new conceptualizations about said problems. Through the establishment of social priorities (an agenda), BWA facilitates discussions that lead to effective policies and meaningful change. Their continuous vigilance on issues affecting Black women worldwide empower women to step up and mitigate the gender gaps that affect women in our society.

In order to accomplish its mission, BWA:

  • Conducts continuing assessments of the status and roles of Black women.
  • Recommends data-based public policy changes which would enhance the status of Black women.
  • Convenes an annual Workshop and Recognition Luncheon in Washington, DC.
  • Educates the public through workshops and other mechanisms about the economic, social, and civil liberties issues relevant to the needs and status of Black women.
  • Publishes at regular intervals newsletters, reports, Congressional “alerts”, and issue papers.
  • Facilitates collaborative relationships with and among many national Black women’s organizations.


The Black Women’s Agenda was founded in 1977 in Washington, DC. It evolved from the work of ten courageous women who responded to an urgent call to recognize and articulate the needs of Black women within the then emerging women’s movement, by developing a Black Women’s Action Plan for the International Women’s Year (IWY) Conference held in Houston, Texas in November, 1977. The Action Plan, enthusiastically embraced by the Black delegates to the Conference, subsequently became the basis for the resolution on the rights of minority women, which was adopted overwhelmingly by the 2,000 conference delegates.

Click here to see additional information and photo from the 1977 NWC Conference.

Building on the momentum of the IWY Conference, the ten women formed BWA as an active organization in the Nation’s capital to implement the recommendations in the Black Women’s Action Plan. In September, 1979, the leaders of forty-three Black women’s organizations met with the ten founders and pledged their support for the mission and program of the Black Women’s Action Plan, dedication to education, advancing, and supporting progressive measures for Black women. In June 1979, BWA conducted its first issues workshop on Capitol Hill. Since that date, it has conducted an array of activities, including town meetings for citizen dialogue with US Presidential candidates, and a popular issues workshop and luncheon held annually in Washington, DC in conjunction with the Congress.


The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. (BWA) is committed to empowering and enriching the lives of black women and their families. Together with our National Collaborating Organizations, we develop and implement programs that provide our constituencies with information, resources, and action plans that address their needs and interests.

BWA's current programs are focused on family caregiving, STEM, registering and mobilizing voters, and recognizing the accomplishments of young African-American women and women.

  • The Because We Care™ initiative provides African Americans across the country with access to free forums that help family caregivers take better care of their loved ones and themselves. Over the past two years, our National Collaborating Organizations have hosted over 20 forums during which panels of experts fielded questions and shared resources and information about respite care, the legal and financial aspects of caregiving, and how family members can protect their own emotional and physical health while providing care.
  • An extension of the Because We Care™ initiative, Conversations on Caregiving brought together the national presidents of some of the nation's most influential African-American sororities, service, civic and faith-based organizations to share personal stories related to family caregiving and some of the best practices their membership and communities are employing to meet the challenges associated with caring for loved ones. Videos of conversations devoted to the legal, health and financial impact of caregiving are available on the BWA website.
  • The Inform & Inspire™ program addresses the importance of increasing the number of African-American women pursuing degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Launched in September 2014, the program engages middle school age girls in hands-on explorations of the threat climate change and pollution pose to pollinators, fish, wildlife, and potentially humans. Participants are also introduced to non-traditional STEM careers and meet African-American women who are on the front lines of helping to preserve our environment.
  • Four for Four - Four People, Four Votes, Four Years and Foresight - recruits members of participating sororities, service, civic and faith-based groups in raising awareness, educating voters and ensuring that at least four people, including themselves, vote on Election Day.
  • Each year, BWA's Bright Futures Awards program honors a student or group of students whose academic achievements and service to school and community distinguish them as future leaders and success stories. The recipients are nominated and selected by the BWA executive board, saluted at the Annual Symposium & Luncheon, and presented with a grant to support their efforts.

BWA Board of Directors

Gwainevere Catchings Hess
- President

Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D.
- VP for Administration

Mary E.N. Clark
- VP for Programs

Gladys Gary Vaughn, Ph.D.
- VP for Legislative Affairs

Anna Russell Mora
- Recording Secretary

Lucinda Crawford Belin
- Treasurer

Dawna Michelle Fields
- Public Information Officer

Marcella Maxwell, Ph.D.
- International Liasion

Vivian Rogers Pickard
- Immediate Past-President

Dolly Desselle Adams, Ph.D.
Gina Adams
Vanita M. Banks, Esq.
Adell Batchelor Walker
Margaret Batchelor-White, Ph.D.
Mattie Beckham*
Faith Blackburne
Karen Ragland Cole, M.D.
Rosalind Denning
Alexine C. Jackson*
Delores Kennedy-Williams
Toyce Newton
Doris Bundy Noble*
Anne Pruitt-Logan, Ph.D.
Connie Speights Richardson
Leigh Adams Slaughter, Esq.
Roslyn L. Smith
Beverly A. Thomas
Roxane Whittier
Wendy Winters, Ph.D.*
Sonjia Young*

*Denotes Emeritae Members

"The Black Women's Agenda, Inc."
5335 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. Suite 440, Washington, DC 20015-2052
Office: 202.730.2637 Fax: 202.730.2638 Email: bwa@bwa-inc.org

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