NBC-LEO Celebrates Anniversary with Poet Nikki Giovanni

By Gordon, Mary France | Nation's Cities Weekly, January 2, 2006 | Go to article overview

NBC-LEO Celebrates Anniversary with Poet Nikki Giovanni


Gordon, Mary France, Nation's Cities Weekly


With 35 years under its belt, the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) marked this milestone with the spoken word of world-renowned wordsmith Nikki Giovanni.

At the NBC-LEO membership luncheon during the 2005 Congress of Cities and Exposition, NBC-LEO President Leo V. Chaney, Jr., councilmember, Dallas, Texas, expressed his gratitude that Giovanni was attending the event.

"I am thrilled to have one of the nation's premier writers, playwrights and poets with us as we celebrate 35 years as the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials," he said. "I am honored to have the presence of Nikki Giovanni with us in the salute to our leadership and longevity."

Giovanni, poet, essayist, professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., and NAACP Image Award winner for literature, wowed the audience of NBC-LEO members and colleagues, speaking profoundly about the slave history of African Americans, their strength and their contributions to this country.

She also spoke of her acquaintance with civil rights leader Rosa Parks. Giovanni recently released a children's book, titled "Rosa" telling the tale of how Parks changed history with her quiet battle for civil rights.

In addition to Giovanni's speech, NBC-LEO hosted a workshop on re-entry for ex-offenders moderated by Felicia Moore, councilmember, Atlanta, Ga., who was elected president of NBC-LEO at the annual membership business meeting.

"I am honored to follow in the footsteps of numerous NBCLEO leaders," said Moore. "We have much work ahead of us in the coming year. Our mission will be to focus on achieving more on behalf of the organization so that we can strengthen our roles in local government."

At the membership business meeting, members also voted to add an additional region to its board of directors--Region 20, which will represent the State of California.

NBC-LEO's officers are: Felicia Moore, councilmember, Atlanta, Ca. (president); Terry Riley, councilmember, Kansas City, Mo. (president-elect); James Mitchell, Jr., councilmember, Charlotte, N.C. (first vice president); Daisy W. Lynum, mayor pro tern, Orlando, Fla. (second vice president); James Walls, vice mayor, District Heights, Md. (treasurer); Marshand Crisler, council president, Jackson, Miss. (assistant treasurer); Louvenia Mathison, councilmember, Berkeley, Mo. (secretary); Sandra McFadden Weaver, councilmember, Kansas City, Mo. (assistant secretary); Robert Raynor, Jr., alderman, New Bern, N.C. (parliamentarian); Barbara Swearengen Holt, councilmember, Memphis, Tenn. (chaplain); Artis Gillam, Sr., councilmember, Youngstown, Ohio (historian); and Leo V. Chaney Jr., councilmember, Dallas, Texas (immediate past president). …

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