Bay Area Brilliance: Centering Black Women as Agents of Change

Erin Alexis Randolph /

Join Bay Area social visionaries Alicia Garza, Nwamaka Agbo, Mia Birdsong, and Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Calif.) for a conversation with Professor Brittney Cooper, author of Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women about centering the narratives, wisdom, and leadership of Black women as essential to charting a better future for us all.

Addressing the crowd at the Women’s March on Washington, civil rights activist and scholar Angela Davis said, "We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages.” While the March asserted the power of collective representation in mounting resistance, persistent blindspots compromise the institutions working to maintain it.

 In May, for example, a group of Black women civic and political leaders enumerated the leadership that Black women are taking to mobilize voters, run for office, and organize communities without support from, or key representation within, the Democratic National Committee. “There’s too much at stake,” reads the letter to DNC chairman Tom Perez, “to ignore Black women.” 

In her latest book, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women, Cooper documents the development of African American women as public intellectuals and the evolution of their thought leadership from the end of the 1800s through the Black Power era of the 1970s. Her book provides critical insights and inspiration for recognizing and prioritizing Black women as agents in history and of our future. Join us for a conversation on the imperative to center the leadership of Black women within institutions of power and influence to achieve a society that benefits us all.

We will start from the historical perspective taken in Professor Cooper’s new book and then elevate contemporary examples of where the leadership of Black women are shaping narratives and strategies in electoral politics, media, and institutional design. 

This event will be co-hosted by New America's Family Centered Social Policy Program and New America CA. 

Copies of Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women will be available for purchase by credit card or check. 

Livestreaming of this event will be hosted on this page. Join the conversation online with #TrustBlackWomen and @NewAmericaFCSP


Brittney Cooper, @ProfessorCrunk
Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies, Rutgers University 
Author, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women

Alicia Garza, @aliciagarza
Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter
Special Projects Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance 

Nwamaka Agbo@AmakaAgbo
Senior Fellow, Movement Strategy Center
Restorative Economics Consultant 

Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Calif.)@HollyJMitchell
California State Senator, 30th District


Mia Birdsong, @miabirdsong
Fellow, New America CA