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Oprah Winfrey to Headline Associated Black Charities Virtual Event on Giving Tuesday

As part of the local nonprofit's speaker series on combatting racism, Winfrey will discuss facing adversity and her ties to Baltimore.

To conclude Equity First, a four-part virtual speaker series launched by Cross Keys-based Associated Black Charities (ABC), the local nonprofit has saved, perhaps its most famous guest, for last. The final installment of the series on Nov. 30 will feature none other than Oprah Winfrey—who, despite her global success, we still like to claim as one of our own.  

Equity First—which was created in an effort to bolster fair and sustainable solutions to combat institutional and structural racism—has featured leaders based in Baltimore and nationwide, with past speakers such as Clarence Wooten, co-founding General Partner at Revitalize Venture Studio, and Michele Fuller, CEO of Minerva Global Business Solutions. 

“When we began [Equity First], we certainly did not realize that we would have Oprah as our closing speaker,” says Diane Bell-McKoy, ABC’s president and CEO. “We feel very blessed to have achieved that for our series. It means a great deal of significance that someone who is now a world icon came through this doorway of Baltimore and moved on and grew from all the challenges she faced here.”

In an interview led by Bell-McKoy on Nov. 30, the philanthropist and former talk show host-turned-multimedia mogul will discuss her ties to Baltimore and quest for career equity, along with her perspectives on relationship maintenance and asserting one’s value in the face of adversity. Bell-McKoy, a longtime follower of Winfrey, describes her as the perfect fit to close the online series—which supports ABC’s work to dismantle race-based barriers in Maryland’s workforce. 

While Bell-McKoy acknowledges that Baltimore has seen progress when it comes to racial equity—namely since the Baltimore Uprising in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray—she says there is still progress to be made. 

“It’s a tough conversation, but I think having a virtual speaker is an asset, because people can [continue this discussion] in their own space, wherever that space is,” she says. “We want people to ask questions later on, continue to work with us, and be willing to be a little bit uncomfortable.”

Tickets to the virtual event, which will be held on Giving Tuesday, can be purchased online hereBell-McKoy says that she hopes viewers walk away inspired to remain engaged with ABC for future webinars on topics such as public transportation and Baltimore’s future as an equitech city. 

“Bottom line, our agenda is to help grow the wealth of [local] black and brown workers,” she says. “That’s what we hope people take away, even after Oprah.”