BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has announced their 2nd annual BLACK GIRLS LEAD conference to take place July 28-July 31, 2016 at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City.

The conference will host 125 young women ages 13-17 from 82 cities across four countries including the United States, Canada, the Bahamas and South Africa. The conference will include over 20 panels, workshops and masterclasses with award winning educators, journalists, entertainers, computer scientists, politicians and motivational speakers. Over the four days, BLACK GIRLS LEAD will also foster sisterhood, wellness and cultural enrichment through team building activities and creative exercises.

“I have never experienced being around a large group of young black girls from all over the world who were all strong in different ways,” says 2015 BLACK GIRLS LEAD participant Cai Barnes. “After BLACK GIRLS ROCK! I felt encouraged to be the best that I can be. I left the conference feeling empowered like never before.”

BLACK GIRLS LEAD, in its second year, grew out of a BLACK GIRLS ROCK! two week long overnight camp that began in 2011 with 30 participants. The camp has since transformed into a four-day intensive able to accommodate four times its original camp size. Each year the leadership program has continued to grow and expand on its mission to provide life skills, self-empowerment and sisterhood to young Black women from around the world who can go on to instill the same skills in their communities. This year’s 125 participants were chosen from an application pool of over 500 young women from across five continents.

“Our current social, political and cultural climate is an example of the dire need for our community to pull together and work toward collaborative solutions that empower Black youth to be their bravest, brightest, best and most authentic selves,” says BLACK GIRLS ROCK! founder and CEO Beverly Bond. “I have deep gratitude for the incredible people in my village who understand the critical importance of investing in our young women to help them recognize their agency, understand the power of their voices and prepare them to become 21st century leaders who stand and deliver.”

2016 BLACK GIRLS LEAD signature panels will include BLACK GIRLS ROCK FOR JUSTICE, a discussion on the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement; GIRLS ROCK TECH, a conversation with leading experts and innovators in technology; BLACK GIRL MAGIC, a curated panel featuring YouTube Black creatives; and BLACK WOMEN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, a talk with top ranking women in Obama’s administration. Life skills workshops will be offered on essay writing, financial literacy, social media navigation and public speaking. The action-packed, empowerment conference will also feature a College to Career session with representatives from Barnard College, Columbia University, Howard University, Northeastern University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, Yale University and more.

LIST OF 2016 BLACK GIRLS LEAD SPEAKERS & PANELISTS
• Ledisi, Singer-songwriter
• Jamika Burge, Director of Assessment Technology Product & Research at UCLA
• Dawn Davis, Publisher 37 Ink
• Tiffany Dufu, Author and CLO at Levo League
• Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, NJ
• Erica Pittman, Vice President of Combs Enterprises
• Dee Poku, Founder/CEO of Wie Network
• Kierna Mayo, Senior Vice President of Content and Brands at One Interactive
• Dr. Kayla Hales, Researcher at Google in NYC
• Dr. Knatokie Ford, ‎Senior Policy Advisor at The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
• Donna Byrd, Founding Publisher, The Root & VP Digital Media at Univision
• Akiba Solomon, Award-winning Journalist and Editorial Director of Colorlines
• Ellen McClain, Chief Financial Officer at Year Up
• 9th Wonder, Grammy Award-winning Music Producer
• Keli Goff, Journalist and Screenwriter
• Luvvie Ajayi, Writer, Speaker, Teacher, Activist
• Elle Varner, Singer-Songwriter
Estelle, Singer-Songwriter
• Nekesa Moody, Global Entertainment & Lifestyles Editor at Associated Press
• Chuck Creekmur, CEO of AllHipHop.com
• Ilyasah Shabazz, Author and Activist
• Hosea Chanchez, Actor and Philanthropist
• Kamau Bobb, Program Director, National Science Foundation, Research Scientist Georgia Tech
• Tamika Mallory, Activist, Justice League
• Michaela angela Davis, Image Activist & Cultural Critic
• Autumn Marie, Black Lives Matter NYC
• Jocelyn Cooper, Co-founder of Afro Punk Festival
• Renae Bluitt, Founder/CEO of Crush Media and In Her Shoes Blog
• Blondel Pinnock, Senior Vice President/Chief Lending Officer at Carver Bank
• Gina Charbonnet, Founder/CEO of GE CHAR (Event/media producer, GE Char)
• Luam Keflezgy, Dancer-choreographer
• Ghylian Bell, Founder Urban Yoga Foundation
• Evita Robinson, Founder/CEO of the Nomadness Travel Tribe
• Errol King, Co-Founder/Creative Technologist – Hidden Level Games, Student Experience Manager (Google)
• Christopher Emdin, Hip-Hop Ed Founder, author and professor at Columbia University Teacher’s College
• Teneshia Warner, Founder/CEO/CCO at Egami Consulting Group
• Khary Lazarre-White, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Brotherhood/Sister Sol
• Kalisha Dessources, Policy Advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls
• Dr. Kimberlyn Leary, White House Fellow, Office of Management and Budget
• Lauren Mims Assistant Director White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
• Addie Whisenant Director of African-American Media, White House Office of Communications
• Dr. Quincy Brown, Professor at the Computer Science Department at Bowie State University,
• ‎Barbara Whye, Director of Strategy and External Alliances at Intel
• Tiffany the Budgetnista, Financial Empowerment Educator
• L.Y.R.I.S.P.E.C.T, Poet, Writer and Educator
• Taiia Smart Young, Writer and Motivational Speaker
• Imani and Kaza Razat, Product and Co-Founders Data.Art.Org

For more information about BLACK GIRLS ROCK! and BLACK GIRLS LEAD visit www.blackgirlsrock.org.

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