Faith, Spirituality, and African Leadership and Movement Building: From Bishop Tutu, Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, African heritage leaders have channeled faith, spirituality, and traditional cultural values to inspire, ignite and move people across the world to strive for and achieve uplifting social transformation. Panelists will provide examples of how African faith, spirituality, and traditional cultural values are advancing social and economic justice movements and challenges in building unity across diverse faith traditions.
Lifting the Economic Contributions, Mobility, and Resiliency of African Immigrants: African immigrants are a growing economic force across the US, generating billions in consumer sales and tax revenue. In this session, African economic development experts will share data and stories of these contributions, and the policies, programs, and resources that facilitate and create barriers for African immigrants’ economic mobility. They will also lift creative resiliency strategies employed by African immigrants to navigate COVID 19’s economic impact pandemics.
Understanding the Pandemic’s Impacts on African workers and Small Business Employers: Finding and retaining qualified, talented, and motivated employees is essential for small business success and sustainability. A panel of African immigrant small business employers, labor leaders, and workforce development specialists will discuss the pandemic’s impact on African immigrant workers and employers, current workforce trends, and public, nonprofit, and corporate workforce strategies that benefit and harm African immigrants from their various perspectives.
The ARP Infrastructure Bill – Equitable Resource Distribution and Impacts for African Communities: Billions in ARP funding is available to and through government agencies to address the economic impacts of COVID 19 and bolster and “green” our nation’s aging transportation, education, energy, water, and other public infrastructure. Panelists will discuss how these resources could be utilized by African immigrants in government and nonprofits, and as entrepreneurs to create opportunities and benefit our communities.
Investing in African Youth to Build Collective Identity and Power & Creating Avenues to African Prosperity Through Higher Education: Over half of the US African immigrant population are youth under 24 years old, a growing segment of the country’s future leaders, entrepreneurs, voters, and consumers. Youth leaders from various sectors, backgrounds, and experiences will share models and best practices in supporting African youth to build a continual and robust pipeline of future leaders with a collective identity and united voice.
Higher education has opened doors and created avenues for economic advancement and improved life quality for generations of immigrants. Higher education is unattainable for many African immigrant/heritage students but a leap pad from which many African immigrants build rewarding US careers. In this session, African immigrant and other education experts will explore the barriers to higher education for US students and African international students’ economic and leadership potential.
Expanding Technology Access & Financial Technology in the US and Global African Communities: Access to affordable and reliable internet is essential for modern daily life, especially after COVID forced nearly every industry sector to move online and use virtual platforms. A panel of tech sector professionals will discuss innovative entrepreneurial initiatives and policy solutions disrupting the tech sector status quo and equipping Africans with technology resources and digital skills for self and community empowerment.
Increasing African Entrepreneurs’ Access to Mainstream Money & Promising Cultural Alternatives to Mainstream Financing – African Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending: All entrepreneurs need money to start, effectively operate and grow small businesses. African immigrants and other BIPOC entrepreneurs do not have equitable access to financial resources, so face hurdles with small business success, especially during challenging economic times. In this session, African immigrant small business lenders will explore the mainstream capital access barriers and initiatives to create more financing access channels for African immigrant entrepreneurs.
Locked out of the mainstream capital market, African immigrants find and utilize creative and community-based ways to secure the money they need to start and grow small businesses. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending with family and community networks fuels African entrepreneurial development. Session panelists will lift P2P lending models and best practices and discuss how they can be reinforced and scaled to increase capital access for African immigrant entrepreneurs, particularly in communities where we are growing and mainstream financial institutions remain unresponsive to our capital needs.
Data Tools for African Community Empowerment & Amplifying African Voices in Public Policy: Data is at the core of the policy decisions that shape African immigrants’ access to quality education, economic opportunities, housing, and every aspect of life in the US. Yet, data collection and analysis do not account for the diversity of African cultural groups and other people of African/Black heritage. Researchers and analysts will highlight some key data sources, their uses and limitations, and the opportunities and efforts underway to ensure accurate and inclusive data reflecting the realities of the country’s increasingly diverse Black populations.
African immigrants and their US-born children are a growing political base in communities across the country, electing African immigrants and other leaders who commit to championing their interests in the public arena. A panel of community organizers and advocates will lift and explore the impact of a broad range of policies from economic, education, immigration, and travel, and the roles Africans are playing and can play to shape them to benefit our communities.
African Culture Creators: Changing Narratives with Art, Storytelling and Digital Media: This session features multidisciplinary African artists sharing information and stories about the roles that African arts, culture, and heritage assets can play in creating economic opportunities and driving positive narrative change to empower African communities.
Increasing Housing Affordability and Homeownership for African Immigrants: African immigrants are concentrated in cities and metro areas with some of the nation’s highest and fast-rising housing costs. Many struggle with housing cost burdens that threaten to displace families from neighborhoods with strong support networks and access to cultural goods and services. African immigrant and other housing experts will explore the housing affordability challenges of our community, barriers to homeownership, and innovative policy and program strategies to stabilize rental housing and create pathways to homeownership.
Propelling African Immigrant Prosperity Through Microenterprise and Small Business Development: Nationwide, Africans, and other immigrants create small businesses at higher rates than native-born Americans. A panel of African immigrant microenterprise and small business development and lending experts will examine the vital roles of African entrepreneurs as job creators and multigenerational wealth-builders and share strategies and resources they used to weather and survive COVID 19?
Exploring International Policy & Trade Impacts on US and Global Africans: African immigrants retain strong ties to our African nations of origins and ethnic groups across the world. International relations and trade policies that drive investments, commerce, and migration impact and determine our communities’ quality of life beyond and within the US. In this session, a panel of African Affairs, trade and foreign policy experts will share information about US-Africa foreign policies and their economic, social, and political significance for Africans in the US.
African Women Entrepreneurs Catalyzing and Leading Change: African women leaders are disrupting and shifting narratives across industries, countries, and continents with creative solutions to some of the world’s most critical issues. From curbing COVID to lifting AI ethical concerns, African women are game changers. This session will feature a panel of African women entrepreneurs and leaders who share inspiring and uplifting stories and discuss financial resources and other supports that empower African women to address challenges, drive economic development, and open doors for younger generations.
African Health and Wellness in the COVID Era: A national panel of African immigrant public health experts will explore and share insights about the unique health equity challenges Africans face as patients and essential workers in the US during the pandemic and the strategies, specifically telemedicine, being deployed to address these. They will discuss the pre-existing social determinants impacting African immigrants’ health and wellbeing that the pandemic exacerbated and the potential to build upon the awareness, resources, and momentum created by COVID 19 to improve long-term community health outcomes.
Harnessing African Art, Culture and Heritage to Create Economic Opportunities and Place: Across the country African immigrant art, culture, and heritage assets are catalyzing local economic development and anchoring communities in place. This session will explore how African immigrant organizations, business owners, and artists can collaborate to achieve mutually beneficial economic impacts while creating physical spaces to reinforce and preserve languages, cultural practices, and community identities.
Exploring Dynamic African Identities in the US and Worldwide Diaspora: African immigrant/heritage youth and young adults will explore their evolving and intersecting identities as Black heritage Americans and Global Black youth. Sharing stories of their lived experiences, they will highlight and discuss the challenges and opportunities these intersecting identities can create and promising strategies to find commonalities that build connections and foster unity across the African diaspora.