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Black Women’s Roundtable Hosts 5th Annual Summit

Balance Of Power In Senate To Be Decided During Midterm Elections
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 4: Evening arrives at the Capitol building, covered in scaffolding for major repairs, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Today's elections will decide which party will lead the Senate. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images) Allison Shelley / Getty Images

Hundreds of Black women from around the U.S. are convening on Capitol Hill in the Washington, DC from March 17 to March 20, for the Black Women's Roundtable Women of Power National Summit.

The women will meet, network and lobby on the issues important to African American women. They will also focus on issues important to Black women centered around the 2016 presidential election.

"Our summit will focus on engaging in collective strategy to develop solutions for women and girls," said Melanie Campbell, convener of the Black Women's Roundtable (BWR) and president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

Melanie Campbell
Melanie Campbell, president, National Coalition on Civic Participation, speaks to a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Lauren Victoria Burke / AP, file

"Black women's voting power is stronger than ever. We're turning out at exceptional levels in Democratic primaries so it harkens to the fact that just as we've lead all demographics in the presidential election in 2012 we expect to dose in 2016," said Dr. Avis Jones DeWeever.

DeWeever authored the report "Black Women in the United States 2016 -- Power of the Sister Vote" for the Black Women's Roundtable.

"More and more Black women are identifying as independent. So that suggests that candidates of all political parties need to work to earn our votes," DeWeever told NBCBLK.

The report also showed that Black female support of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been key for her in presidential primaries. It also showed a spike in Virginia where 9 percent of Blacks voted Republican, which is a 400 percent increase.

Hillary Clinton exuberantly offers hug to friend Alicia
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2016/03/02: Hillary Clinton exuberantly offers hug to friend Alicia Williams. Hillary Rodham Clinton affirmed her status as front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in the wake of her Super Tuesday victories with a speech at Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images) Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images

Trudy Grant, the Manager of Religious and External Affairs for the National Action Network came to the summit from Charleston, SC.

"The Black Women's Roundtable has been integral in all that we do," Grant said. "We did a Power of the Black Vote event in South Carolina an I think it made a significant difference," Grant said.

Though Grant said she was still deciding between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) she said that issues round racial profiling and racial discrimination are important to her as she evaluates candidates.

Grant was a friend of the late State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who she met in church, and who was one of nine African Americans murdered on June 17, 2015 at Emanuel AME in Charleston. This weekend a bipartisan group of members of Congress will travel to Charleston, SC on a civil rights pilgrimage, an event Grant helped put together.

Another participant in the summit is Teresa Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation.

"We are the litmus test of what is happening in our society. Being able to be at this gathering it reminds us of where that power and strength comes from and that we actually have it. For me working with the Ms. Foundation I'm reminded about the power and strength of women," Younger said.

As the summit continued and participants headed to Capitol Hill, Judge Merrick Garland was making his first visits to Senators on Capitol Hill close by and House hearing on the lead water crisis in Flint was ongoing.

The summit will feature a Power of the Sister Vote Townhall Meeting to discuss the issues Black women care about in 2016 and a "Sistars Awards" Ceremony on March 19th.