Several of the leading ladies in the mayoral space are uniting at the 2019 Essence Festival for a discussion you won’t want to miss.
Returning to the Festival following last year’s dynamic discussion, a total of six Black women mayors from across the country will join this year’s 25th anniversary celebration to talk about the work they’ve been doing in their respective cities as individuals and the common ties that unite them as a group of trailblazing women in leadership who are making history.
The panel, titled Black Women Mayors’ Roundtable, will be moderated by third hour of Today cohost, Sheinelle Jones. Panelists will include Baton Rouge mayor Sharon Weston Broome, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Rochester mayor Lovely Warren, Flint mayor Karen Weaver and Gary mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. At the helm of the conversation will be New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell, who is in her second year as the first Black woman to become mayor of the beloved city and is looking forward to returning to what she calls “a safe space.”
“For a quarter of a century ESSENCE has uplifted, empowered and inspired generations of women of color across the globe,” Cantrell said in the July/August 2019 issue of ESSENCE magazine.
“ESSENCE has created a safe space for women to share, to grow and to build community. Thank you for showcasing our achievements, our beauty, our style and even our struggles. Thank you for letting the world know that we are enough. You are an essential part of the fabric of New Orleans. Congratulations on celebrating 25 years of purpose, passion and pride.”
Jones is a top journalist and mother of three. As a moderator of one of the Festival’s most important conversations, she is most looking forward to getting to both the heart of the work and the hearts of the phenomenal women behind the work.
“I think the good thing about this is, it’s energizing and it’s empowering, but I also approach these kind of panels [like], ‘What can I learn from these women,’ ” Jones tells ESSENCE. “And even though we all have different journeys, what can we take from their journey to impact our own?”
Most important, she hopes the conversation will add another layer to spirit of sisterhood and inspiration that the Festival has become largely known for over the past two decades, while also highlighting how these mayors, like so many other women, truly “do it all.”
“It’s one thing to talk about change, but it’s another thing to actually go out and run for office and be your own, as my kids call them, change-makers,” she adds. “A lot of these women in politics, they’re also juggling careers, they’re juggling kids at home, they’re taking care of their parents—a lot of us are juggling a lot.
But I think that’s the beauty of coming to a place like this because, you reenergize and you can ask the girl next to you, ‘How are you doing it?’ Or you hear from these women who are literally running city governments and going home and running their households. That’s thing about women, we do it all. And that’s not lost on me.”
The Black Women Mayors’ Roundtable will take place on Friday, July 5, beginning at 12:30 p.m. on The Power Stage in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. For more information, visit the official Essence Festival website HERE.