The Root Institute Is Coming This August and Stacey Abrams, Ava DuVernay, Lee Daniels, Tarana Burke and Ayanna Pressley Will Be There

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The Root Institute

Black people make things happen.

We not only create the culture—we move the culture forward. We not only influence politics—we push for real change in our lives. Without justice, there truly is no peace, and we’re about enriching our minds and bodies as much as our communities.

With this in mind, body and spirit, The Root is proud to present its first-ever Root Institute, a virtual convening featuring a series of conversations with several of our greatest thinkers, political leaders, creatives, activists and influencers. Originally envisioned as a real-life event, due to the COVID-19 crisis we’re taking the party to the web—and anyone can join in by subscribing here.


Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of August, we will be hosting conversations featuring major players and changemakers, such as politician and voting rights proponent Stacey Abrams; founder of ARRAY, film director and producer, Ava DuVernay; film director and TV producer Lee Daniels; founder of #MeToo Tarana Burke; US Representative Ayanna Pressley; singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc; author Darnell Moore; CEO of Planned Parenthood Alexis McGill Johnson and many, many others.

These solutions-centered conversations will focus on a range of issues, including: voting rights; voter protection; community policing; the Black Lives Matter movement; the impact of COVID-19; the 2020 presidential race; art and activism; social justice; culture, health and wealth; health disparities in the Black community; the intersection of tech and activism; a celebration of Black joy; diversity and inclusion programs; intraracial conversations around allyship between Black men, the LGBTQ communities and Black women, and more.


The purpose of these conversations is to inform and uplift, as well as provide tangible solutions in our effort to set the Black agenda for 2020 and beyond.

This first year of The Root Institute, presented by Target, will capture its conversations on video and will post them to a special vertical on The Root. Those interested in receiving updates and information on this lecture series should subscribe here.


Week 1 of The Root Institute will be about politics and voting rights and will open on August 4th with a Q&A between possible Joe Biden vice presidential pick Stacey Abrams and Danielle Belton, editor-in-chief of The Root, followed by a second one-on-one between Rep. Ayanna Pressley and The Root’s video producer and host, Felice León. Thursday’s programming will feature a panel including Glynda Carr of Higher Heights, Judith Browne Dianis of Advancement Project and Rashad Robinson of Color of Change.

Week 2 will focus on entertainment and culture, featuring one-on-one conversations with Lee Daniels and The Root’s entertainment writer, Tonja Stidhum, and Ava DuVernay with Belton. The week will also host an examination of Black joy led by Very Smart Bros. Senior Editor Panama Jackson, and a panel on the intersection of art and activism featuring Aloe Blacc.


Week 3 will touch on health and wealth, as well as a special panel on diversity and inclusion. Featured speakers include Planned Parenthood’s Alexis McGill Johnson, author Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Joy Altimere of EHE Health, and more.

Finally, Week 4 will culminate on social impact, featuring a one-on-one conversation between Tarana Burke and Managing Editor of The Glow Up Maiysha Kai; as well as other featured speakers, such as author Darnell Moore, president of the National Black Justice Coalition David Johns, communications expert Chelsea Fuller of Blackbird, and more.


The Root is proud to host these conversations and more in August and hope that you will join us and join in the conversation online. We can change the world—together, starting with conversations that lead to inspiring action.

Are you ready? Sign up now.