The Black America Summit (BAS) began as a free, live, virtual speaker series, held each Friday in July (2020). It united leaders, elected officials, and organizers with Black Communities and allies.
The brainchild of Rielle Jones, the Black America Summit was born out of the racialization of the COVID-19 pandemic and has become increasingly relevant as the country’s systemic racial injustice has come to the fore.
The Black America Summit is a safe space for education, dialogue, and planning for the future on topics crucial to Black Americans. Panelists include notable educators, activists, doctors, attorneys, executive directors, and more.
BAS continues to grow and support the needs of our growing community of Black Americans and allies.
Rielle (she l her l hers) is an event manager with a Bachelors of Arts from Wellesley College. She founded Black America Summit to help promote cross-cultural support for the Black Community–initially, to combat the impacts of COVID. Rielle has 10 years event management experience supporting nonprofits and corporations, averaging 4 times higher event R.O.I.
Mary Mattia Heerwald (she l her l hers) is a communications and marketing director with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. Outside of work, she’s also currently pursuing an MS in Strategic Communication from Columbia University. She joined the Black America Summit team because she believes in its mission, is committed to supporting Black Communities — and because she had the opportunity to work with an incredible W classmate.
Ace (he l his l they l them) Manager at Star Market at Fenway. He graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies and Gender Studies. He joined BAS to support honest conversations around the things that impact the Black and Queer communities.
Shirley (she/her or they/them) is a PhD candidate in Social Welfare and part-time educator with a Masters and Certificate of Education in School Counseling degree from Harvard Graduate School of education and bachelors of art in Neuroscience from Wellesley College. Shirley joined the Black America Summit team because they were looking for concrete and tangible ways to support Black Americans especially during the time of COVID. Shirley is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Welfare, researching ways to better support and uplift LGBTQ+ youth of color.
Jane (she l her l hers) is a musician and dogwalker with a Bachelors of Arts from Wellesley College. She joined the Black America Summit team to be a part of an amazing project and to learn how to support Black voices. In 2018, Jane started Asian Glow, a performance series that showcases the original works of Asian performers in Boston, MA.
EA (he l him l his) is a community worker in New Orleans. He joined the Black America Summit team to push Self Determination and Autonomy for Blac Folks. EA is a community organizer around State Sanctioned Violence