About the Theme

We are excited to announce this year’s conference theme: “Affirming Blackness: Protest, Passion, & Policy”.

After tracking the midterm elections, the students at Harvard Kennedy School had a fascinating discussion with Khalil Muhammad, Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, on how many candidates used their Blackness not just as a wedge issue, but also as a source of strength. We have seen candidates resist a political marketplace that has historically devalued Black people, and affirm through their messaging that being Black has something special to offer. Given that our conference is taking place in the spring, we are hoping to leverage the post-midterm and pre-presidential election timing to take stock of how Black politicians, community activists, professionals and students can affirm their Blackness in a post-Obama world.

The Black Policy Conference is the leading policy driven forum to address the issues affecting Black communities. The conference provides an opportunity for the convergence of the world’s greatest minds and practitioners with the hope and intent of finding sustainable solutions for issues facing Black communities. We aim to:

-Enrich the dialogue at Harvard University and beyond surrounding Black issues.
-Build a sustainable network among current students, alumni, faculty, and policy practitioners.
-Create innovative ideas and share best practices.
-Addressing policy issues that affect Africa and the African Diaspora.
-Inspire individuals to be engaged in the policy-making process.

In past years, the Black Policy Conference has hosted speakers including Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Ambassador Susan Rice, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Governor Deval Patrick, Businesswoman Sheila Johnson, Mayor Karen Jackson Weaver of Flint, Michigan, and Political Analyst Angela Rye.