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The Root Institute to bring Black journalists, activists to Howard for annual symposium

The Root, a Black-centered online magazine, to bring its annual symposium to Howard University for the first time making the event free to students.

The Root Institute’s “Blueprint for a Better Black America” flier. (Photo courtesy of The Root Institute)

The Root, a digital Black news publication, announced earlier this month that its 2023 symposium will be held at Howard University. 

On Sept. 20, The Root Institute will bring numerous Black writers, activists and business professionals to Washington, D.C., to speak with students and attendees through this year’s theme “The Blueprint for a Better Black America,” according to editor-in-chief Tatsha Robertson. 

“There has to be a blueprint for making America a better place for African Americans,” Robertson said. “If we can get the greatest minds in America from a variety of genres and let them talk about how we can create this better world, we would have the information we need to put that together.”

Robertson, who was named editor-in-chief in June, believes that the theme speaks to the “racial targeting” in America toward Black people. On Aug. 26, a man fatally shot three Black shoppers at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida, in what police are calling a racially motivated hate crime

“This forum, especially this year, is to try to answer some questions,” Robertson said. She shared that panelists of The Root Institute will include broadcast journalist Don Lemon, civil rights organizer David Johns and television producer Susan Fales-Hill, among others.

Robertson shared that panels for this year will include discussions on the power of the young vote, creating a business and the challenges of being a Black woman in the workforce. “It’s basically like having a Master Class every half hour,” she said.

Last year’s event featured notable speakers such as Georgia gubernatorial candidate, and incoming chair for Race and Black Politics at Howard University, Stacey Abrams, civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and activist the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, who spoke with attendees about policing and the state of democracy.

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Robertson shared that the idea to bring The Root Institute to Howard had been in production for several years. Dr. Yanick Rice Lamb, a Howard journalism professor, shared her excitement in welcoming The Root Institute to Howard.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing to have The Root Institute come to us. It gives students at Howard an opportunity to hear nationally recognized speakers and weigh in on the issues of today,” Lamb said.  

“Howard is the Mecca and is known for being on top of different things that are going on in the Black community and throughout the diaspora. I think it’s the perfect location to have the event,” she added.

The day-long symposium will take place in the Armour J. Blackburn University Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be free for Howard students and $5 for general admission. More information regarding The Root Institute and event ticketing is available on the publication’s website

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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