What is the State of Black Women Initiative? 

The State of Black Women (“SOBW”) is an initiative of the Barbara Jordan Institute of Policy at Texas Southern University and the Defender Institute. Inspired by the initiative’s slogan, ‘The Power of US,’ the SOBW was established to give voice to the collective power of Black women. The SOBW hosts periodic think tanks, networking events, young women’s initiatives, and online forums will also be held to facilitate and advance the Black Women’s Agenda.


What is the Defender Institute? 

A co-host of the SOBW with the Barbara Jordan Institute of Policy at Texas Southern University, the Defender Institute is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote education and empowerment opportunities for people of color. Initiatives of the organization include: State of Black Women, State of Black Men, State of Black Houston, State of Black Health and State of Black Youth.


Who are the founders of the SOBW? 

Sonceria (Sonny) Messiah-Jiles

CEO and Publisher

Defender Network


Dr. Carla D. Brailey

Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair

Assistant Professor, Texas Southern University


ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Managing Editor

Defender Network

Argentina James

President & CEO

HillDay Public Relations, Inc.

Margo Williams Hubbard

Engagement Manager

Defender Network


Who are the advisors of the SOBW?

More than 100 visionary Black women comprise the SOBW Advisory Team. These women stepped up initially to share their thoughts on the major issues facing Black women. The Advisors are comprised of consciously aware Black women who are using their platforms, influence and stories to inspire others and to advance the agenda ofBlack women.


How did the SOBW Summit emerge?

The State of Black Women Summit developed from a SOBW Roundtable sponsored by the Houston Defender, the Barbara Jordan Institute at Texas Southern University at the Federal Reserve Bank in March 2019. More than 100 Black professional and grassroots women convened to discuss key areas impacting the quality of lives of Black women, primarily in the greater Houston area.  The SOBW Summit emerged as a viable event to highlight the critical areas important to success of Black women. The State of Black Women Summit is the annual premier event of the SOBW where attendees can gain insight and the tools necessary to progress as workers, voters, entrepreneurs, community influencers and leaders in the UnitedStates. 


What was the outcome of the State of Black Houston Roundtable?

More than 100 Houston-area women of vision gathered at the State of Black Women Roundtable on Friday, March 29, 2019, to determine the agenda for an upcoming SOBW Summit.


The roundtable was sponsored by the Defender Network and the Barbara Jordan Institute at Texas Southern University. Participants brought different areas of expertise and different levels of experience to the roundtable, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-Houston Branch.


Participants included educators, entrepreneurs, activists, journalists, elected officials, engineers, doctors, attorneys, pastors, bankers, administrators and retirees.


They joined together to develop a list of the most pressing issues impacting Black women:

Why are we hosting the first 21st Century Summit on the State of Black Women?

The success of the program will be defined by two overarching goals: 1) sharing the power of Black women’s knowledge and experiences to strengthen future generations; and 2) collectively utilizing the power of Black women to make changes in the quality of lives by enhancing their political, economic and social awareness and opportunities to advance in all those aspects.

How can I get involved?

We welcome your involvement and energy as we advance the Black Women’s Agenda. To join the advocacy, please click here.

The information contained on thesobw.com is for general information purposes only. The SOBW founders, advisors, advocates, affiliates nor sponsors (the parties) assume responsibility for errors or omissions in the content. In no event shall the parties be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever. The SOBW founders reserve the right to make additions, deletions or modification to the content at any time without prior notice. SOBW is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization created to educate and empower its constituencies.
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