BLOGReflecting on the 2024 Can We Talk? Symposium: A Celebration of Community and Joy

Even if you couldn’t join us at the 2024 Can We Talk? Symposium at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center this past May, we want to bring you into the fold and share the incredible energy and insights from our recent gathering. The symposium was a vibrant celebration of community, understanding, and joy, marked by memorable events such as the Family Reunion Networking Mixer, enlightening panel discussions, and the nostalgic vibes at BoBo’s House Party.

Embracing Authenticity and Connection

This year’s theme, “Radical Attunement: Cultivating Safety, Belonging, and Dignity in Black Communities,” called for deep and meaningful conversations that took place across the symposium. It was inspiring to witness attendees, including doctors and therapists often perceived as formal, engaging openly in discussions that were not only informative but also incredibly heartfelt and authentic.

A Network of New Connections

The symposium kicked off with the Family Reunion Networking Mixer, setting the tone for days of rich dialogue and renewed connections. It was a reminder of the power of community and the vital role it plays in supporting mental wellness.

Panel Highlights from the Symposium

Among the transformative discussions, the “Beyond the Armor: Redefining Vulnerability Through Masculinity” panel opened new avenues for men to express their emotions healthily in ways that are usually deemed “soft” or weak, inviting men to embrace all sides of their humanity. The women’s panel, “S.I.T. Down Sis: Self-preservation Is Transformative,” advocated for critical self-care practices. Dr. Jeff Rocker’s “Hip Hop Therapy for Teens” used rap as a therapeutic tool, while “Crisis in the Shadows” delved into the issues of self-harm, domestic violence, and substance abuse. The “Healing the Family Tree” panel explored the impact of generational trauma, religion, and spirituality. Specialized sessions like “The Therapist’s Therapist” and “From Cultural Competency to Cultural Humility” provided essential resources for mental health practitioners, contributing to our overarching goal of fostering a supportive and understanding community.

Innovative Sessions and Joyful Engagements

The Joy Salon was a sanctuary of tranquility where many of you participated in sound bowl sessions, yoga, meditation, and enjoyed soothing massages. There was even a barber on hand to recreate the feeling of sanctuary for the men. These moments of peace were a wonderful counterbalance to the dynamic discussions that filled our days.

BoBo’s House Party…with a purpose

And who could forget DJ Quicksilva at BoBo’s House Party? Spinning all the best tunes from the 80s and 90s, the evening wasn’t just a trip down memory lane—it was a vibrant celebration of life and community.

A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Sponsors

We extend our deepest gratitude to all the sponsors of the 2024 Can We Talk? Symposium. Special thanks to our Premier Sponsor, BET, and our Panel Sponsors—TikTok, Color of Autism, Kate Spade New York, Black Authors Matter, The Kennedy Center, BTST, and Medicalincs/Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling and Consultation. Your generous support was crucial for enriching our discussions and enhancing our community impact. We also deeply appreciate our Community Partner, Prince George’s County District 8, for their significant role in deepening our local engagement. Here’s to continued collaboration and growth!

Looking Ahead

As we reflect on these unforgettable days, our hearts are full of gratitude for your openness and enthusiasm. We’re already brimming with ideas for next year and eagerly anticipate sharing more details with you soon. Yet, the reality we face is that our ambitions are often challenged by the unpredictability of economic conditions and funding availability.

This makes the continued support from our community not just valuable but vital. As we continue our work to uplift BIPOC communities through events like this, during a time where our economy is wavering and funding is scarce, please consider making a donation of $20 to support BLHF’s work as leaders in the mental health space.

Text BRIDGETHEGAP2024 to 707070 or visit our Bridge the Gap Support page to contribute.

Thank you once again for making the 2024 Can We Talk? Symposium not just a meeting of minds, but a celebration of hearts. Here’s to more conversations, more healing, and more joy in the days ahead!


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