Organized by City Awake, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s young professional platform, Fierce Urgency of Now is a decentralized five-day festival with 30+ events hosted by organizations and businesses across Greater Boston. The events and conversations throughout the festival highlight the experiences, challenges, and opportunities for young professionals of color in Boston.
This year, for the first time, Fierce Urgency of Now will be a fully digital calendar of events. From day parties to workshops, workout classes to keynote speakers, Fierce Urgency of Now rewrites the narrative of Boston, making it an anti-racist city that is more inclusive, more accessible, and more welcoming to all.
Check out the schedule and register by individual event here:
Please contact event hosts directly with questions.
WED, SEP 16
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Opening Ceremony
Join us for our special Opening Ceremony featuring Founder & CEO of Blavity Inc., Morgan DeBaun! During this special kickoff event, Morgan will discuss her journey through becoming the founder of a major media tech start-up which is home to the largest network of brands specifically serving Black millennials through original content, video, and unique experiences. Morgan has continuously used her platform to speak out about the most pressing issues facing young people of color and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to hear her insights on how to empower yourself, your colleagues, and your employees to speak up, stand out, and implement effective change.
THU, SEP 17
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM: Virtual Presentation Skills
Join Boston Speaks for this informative event about how to level up your virtual communication skills and lead with empathy. You'll learn the importance of effectively using body language and voice to capture attention and emphasize the message along with some other useful tools.
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM: The Color of Public Service
The Color of Public Service: A Conversation on Navigating Government and Politics will feature a panel of public service professionals, tracing their challenges, failures, and achievements. The panel discussion is designed to demystify the world of public service by providing clear and tangible steps one could take to gain entry, as well as share key lessons learned on how to navigate challenges, learn from failures, and achieve success. Panelists will include current and former elected officials, staff, and political operatives.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM: #MyBoston: Making Equity A Reality
Now more than ever it is imperative that the next generation engage in the most pressing issues facing our region. In a way, it’s been forced upon their shoulders. In recent months, we’ve seen a global health crisis capsize the way we all work and live. We’ve seen racial injustices and disparities continue to highlight the inequities across our nation. And, we’ve seen politics divide our country like never before. Young professionals of color throughout Boston make up the majority of the population and the workforce. During this discussion, we’ll hear from Mayor Martin J. Walsh and his newly appointed Chief of Equity, Dr. Karilyn Crockett, who will be interviewed by a local young professional of color. They’ll discuss what their goals are for the city and what is being done to ensure equity becomes a reality.
12:00 PM - 2:30 PM: Managing & Growing Wealth
Interested in learning more about how to manage and grow wealth? Join us for a panel discussion with Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors and Wealth Management representatives from underrepresented communities. Authenticity and representation in corporate spaces, are crucial particularly in Wealth Management. To really hone in on management, investment, and growth as a young professional, we’ll hear from Morgan Stanley’s Head of Financial Wellness who will discuss key financial wellness topics. Attendees can sign up for one of four breakout groups to dive into the nitty gritty on wealth management.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Sharing Your Voice Through Public Board Service
Massachusetts has over 700 public boards or commissions which influence policy and procedures related to housing, education, health, workforce development, criminal justice and many more critical issues. Parity on Board, an initiative of YW Boston, seeks to increase gender and race diversity on these boards. Find out how you can share your voice, influence public policy, and develop as a leader through public board and commission service. Find out how you can share your voice, influence public policy, and develop as a leader through public board and commission service.
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM: A Historical Tour & Contemporary Conversation
Are you a history buff, community activist, or curious to learn more about the history of activism for equity and justice in Boston? Join us to view a short film about anti-slavery activists in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood during the 19th-century Abolitionist Movement, followed by a conversation with one of these activists’ descendants. Learn about some pre-19th century community leaders and activists of African and Indigenous descent. With your peers, consider how these stories resonate with young professionals today, what we can learn from this history, and what we hope to exemplify for the next generation of leaders.
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM: Closing the Gap: Advocating for Yourself at Work
Talking to an employer about your salary can be intimidating, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Learn how to determine your value, choose your target salary and benefits, and negotiate your pay with employers in this informative session! Join Ayanna Polk of the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement as she shares best practices in closing gender pay gaps one salary negotiation at a time.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Don't Keep it A Secret
Black music has always played a significant role in American culture. WERS Boston offers a hand picked, curated broadcast every night known as The Secret Spot. When the hustle and bustle of the day is done, The Secret Spot delivers the smoothest new tracks, deepest throwbacks and an ounce of real talk. The discussion will address Black radio in Boston and the approach taken by WERS/Emerson College to train future leaders of the media industry
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Google Team Panel
Tune into this moderated panel discussion where members of the Google Cambridge Team will describe their experiences and answering attendee questions regarding their journeys. This fair will be a virtual, interactive, and informative event enabling attendees to learn about the exciting things happening at Google and what ways young professionals of color can get more involved in the tech industry.
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Jumpstart Your Career in the Insurance Sector
Insurance may not be as sexy as tech, legal or product innovation. But most people don't know that the insurance sector is comprised of many professionals from diverse educational backgrounds and is a great destination for people of color looking for career stability and professional growth. This event, hosted by National African American Insurance Association, would feature diverse leaders in our industry who can speak openly about their experiences as people of color and what advice they have about pivoting into the insurance the industry without feeling like you have to start over.
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM: Refine Your LinkedIn Skillset
How does your LinkedIn profile stand out among the crowd? With LinkedIn being the top social media platform for making professional connections and finding new opportunities, we want to set you up for success – whether you’re looking for a job, networking, build clientele and more. Learn how recruiters use LinkedIn and get tips and tricks on how to make your profile stand out among the crowd.
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Amplifying Voices, Finding Solutions
At this virtual town hall, fellow millennials and city representatives will have intimate group discussions on three of the most pressing topics, to be decided after tallying attendee registration options. The event will provide a platform for millennials to amplify their voices and find solutions to build a better Boston.
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Abuelita’s Kitchen with Accenture
Join Accenture’s Hispanic American Employee Resource Group for Puerto Rican Polvorones and conversation! Cathy Hermina, will walk us through how to make traditional Polvorones and Coquito. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to US in 2013 joining our Boston office for 6.5 years. Within H&PS Consulting, she went from site readiness analyst to communications lead consultant to program and project manager in our Operations division. She was also very active within the ERGs community and served as HAERGs team lead for 2 (awesome) years. At our Boston HAERG potlucks and get togethers we got to taste some of her delicious treats like flancocho and coquito.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM: The Blues Travelers: A Sonic History of the Blues
The first half of the program will take you on an ethnomusicological journey as our Boston Music Project musicians trace the origins of the blues from west Africa, across the Atlantic, and down into the Deep South of the United States. The second half of the program continues with a jam session featuring iconic R&B, jazz and funk music that was heavily influenced by the blues form. The virtual evening is designed to build community through music, amplifying the racial and social significance of this genre, and raise awareness for the importance of arts education for all.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM: TRIBAL presents Sankofa
TRIBAL, an organization founded by educators of color working to improve people of color retention rates, is hosting a panel discussion featuring instrumental figures who shaped Boston’s education landscape. Educators from the busing period and others who have worked in education for decades will highlight what has been done in the past, where we have lost ground, and call a new generation of young professionals to action.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Fresh & So Klean: OutKasting the Dirty Job Stigma
Are you thinking about a career change? Has COVID-19 disrupted your employment, or made you realize you would rather not be an essential worker for the next pandemic? Have you ever considered a job in the technical trades, but been concerned by the misconceptions attached to it? Then in the words of Andre 3000, we’ve planned a pretty picnic. This event is focused on the personal side of professional branding for vocational careers – expelling the myths of dirty jobs on factory floors and replacing them with the truths of empowerment that come from technical, middle-skill jobs. Hear from industry leaders, BFIT alumni, and personal stylists on the nuances of resume-building, personal and online branding, and specialized job opportunities for professional growth in the technical trades. This interactive event includes a panel of experts, networking break-out groups, and job information resources shared across a diverse, young, and engaged audience.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Comedy Night @ Allen & Gerritsen
Get ready for a night of laughs thanks to Allen & Gerritsen! Grab a drink and tune into this event where we'll enjoy some great virtual stand-up comedy.
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM: AmeriCorps Alums in Tech
With COVID fast-tracking digital transformations, tech is shaping the future of work beyond 2020 and so are AmeriCorps Alums. At this panel discussion, AmeriCorps Alums of color will speak about how their AmeriCorps experience has impacted their current career in tech whether they used their service experience or educational award to pivot careers or develop professionally; honed their skills to lead, innovate, and adapt in an ever-changing workplace; or continued doing work that extends beyond themselves and making a positive impact in tech.
8:00 PM - 10:30 PM: Virtual Movie Night
Join Link Up Mobile Entertainment Experience and some friends to virtually chat and watch "Uncorked" with Netflix Party! Link Up is a full service mobile entertainment company that is transforming the way you experience entertainment. Our variety of services help enhance any event and are delivered directly to you. We offer unique and safe entertainment experiences such as outdoor movie theater, karaoke parties, and game nights. Visit www.linkupbos.com
to learn more.
FRI, SEP 18
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM: Blue Table Talk: Unlocking the Mystery of Black Hair
3 P&G leaders come to the table to discuss the science of Black hair and the evolution of products P&G has developed to address hair and skin in the Black community. Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson, Daniel Soffin & Karan Dyson, all P&G leaders, will open their virtual office to you to engage in an open conversation about Black hair and skin. They will discuss the "My Black is Beautiful" campaign, the male hair perspective from skincare to shaving, the innovation & messaging behind the King C. Gillette product lineup and MORE!
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM: The Entrepreneurial Generation: Workplace Flexibility & Side Hustles
During this conversation, we’ll hear from leaders who have pursued their entrepreneurial journey full-time, have decided to keep it on the side, or have encouraged their workforce to think outside the box. With the future of work changing and Millennial and Gen Z’s becoming the largest workforces in history, entrepreneurial thinking isn’t going anywhere, so how can companies support their next generation workers to think innovatively, pursue their side hustles, and strengthen our business and civic communities?
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Countdown to Disruption
Technology. Big data. Global innovation. The possibilities are limitless for young diverse professionals venturing into a $2 trillion dollar insurance industry—which is still growing. This September, find out how iptiQ is leading the insurtech movement that is changing everything. Interested in becoming a part of a team where talented and diverse individuals can discover, learn and thrive? After an introductory interactive panel, plan to join us for a break out discussion with experts— let’s talk about how YOU could make your mark.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Cardio Dance with TRILLFIT®
TRILLFIT® is a Black-owned boutique fitness studio in the heart of Mission Hill, where hip-hop and wellness meet. Their signature dance class blends Beyonce-worthy choreography (we love a good twerk sesh) with multiple rounds of HIIT, to sweat your way to a tighter, toned body. Sneakers Required. All levels welcome.
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM: Cannabis x Equity
This Cannabis Control Commission panel will connect with and engage Social Equity Program Participants and Certified Economic Empowerment applicants about the benefits of the programs and their experiences in the industry to date. The event will promote and facilitate connections between those in the programs and the wider community who may be interested in getting involved in the rapidly growing industry.
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM: Purpose, Inclusion, & Allyship at PWC
Join PwC’s Chief Purpose and Inclusion Officer, Shannon Schuyler, and leaders of the firm’s local employee resource groups in a conversation about how PwC is standing up against racism and helping individuals become active allies.
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM: Black Boston Reimagined
The City of Boston is at a crossroads: poised with the opportunity to transform its reputation as unfriendly and unwelcoming to African Americans into a model of racial equity and hub for Black talent to live, work, and play. What are the steps to get there and bring this vision to life? Join this discussion with leaders from every sector of the city on reimagining Boston as the destination of choice for Black professionals to thrive.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM: The United State of Fashion
The United State of Fashion is designed to create space within MadeINcubator’s platform for thought leaders to collaborate on including underrepresented fashion talent from around the globe through economic empowerment. This event will cultivate a new conversation around diversity in fashion while highlighting leading voices in the industry. This upcoming engaging virtual conversation and designer presentation will lead us through dialogue with our distinguished panel of industry experts around the current state of fashion and education. We will work together to come up with potential solutions for students and small businesses with a focus on minorities, impact in culture, entrepreneurship, arts, COVID-19 and its impact on the fashion community and much more!
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Sustaining Our AdvocaSea In A Digital World
This New England Aquarium event will feature Anna Oposa, Chief Mermaid, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Save Philippines Seas and her new documentary film “Anna and the Thresher Shark.” The film showcases Anna’s pioneering on-the-ground, community-based efforts to strengthen the Philippines’ first shark sanctuary, one that she was instrumental in bringing about in 2015. After the film, we will hold a live panel with Anna and a local Boston community leader to discuss the challenges and innovative solutions for sustaining and growing community-based initiatives in what has become an even more digital world during the time of COVID. This conversation will be followed by a live Q and A with the audience.
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM: Black Cotton Club Jam Session
Unmute your mics for Black Cotton Club’s interactive, intimate, and impromptu open mic and jam session experience. We’re asking you to join us for an unfiltered, unapologetic, non-judgmental environment. The audience will control the event through their narrative as a live band controls the listening experience. Black Cotton Club is a family of artists, activists, business owners, and community leaders who curate events, house jam sessions, and workshops. It is home to artists, a learning environment, and a wellness space. We’re passing the mic to you!
SAT, SEP 19
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM: The Essential Networker: A Culture of Change
Essential is defined as absolutely necessary; extremely important. It’s essential that we show up for social justice. It’s essential that we understand the power of our purpose for the greater good. It’s essential that we take our networking game to the next level. Through courageous conversations, we will share tips and strategies that will help you influence outcomes.
10:00 AM - 2:15 PM: Virtual Wellness Festival
Join Queens Company as they host their first Women of Color virtual Wellness Festival! This event is the reproductive system and nutrition for our community. Women of color are at higher risk for a lot of health complications and this event will discuss two specific health areas. Register to enjoy feature workshops, a fitness class and an array of healthcare providers, knowledgeable experts, and wellness resources to take away.
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Boston & Beyond
Before COVID, young black travelers were making a significant impact, economic and otherwise, in the travel industry. While exploring internationally may be off the table for a while, there are still some opportunities to discover local communities as well as use virtual platforms to explore museums and culture abroad. Come to this informational and interactive event to learn about Boston Onyxbirds and find out how COVID-19 has shifted what travel means.
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM: Everyday Boston Story Share
In these isolating times, when we’ve all been staring at the same four walls for five months, join Everyday Boston for something different: a story share designed to connect you with people you might not otherwise meet!
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Mental Health in the Black Church
The New England Medical Association is a group of Black physicians striving to build professional community focused on social wellness, networking and professional development. Through this lens, they focus on mental wellness during a time of racial unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic. This event will be an in depth panel discussion with parishioners, mental health experts and social workers. By engaging these groups, they will discuss how the church can play a pivotal role in working with the medical community to ensure black and brown communities overcome the stigma of mental illness, especially during such challenging times as now.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Public Spaces...Invite Only? A Discussion on Access & Belonging
Join us for a conversation about access & belonging in Boston's open spaces. Panelists will represent some great landmarks our city has to offer, but most importantly, share how our city can offer these spaces as more welcoming and more inclusive for everyone.
1:15 PM - 4:00 PM: Afrobeat Fit Sweat @ Home
Afrobeat Fit will be bringing the sweat over the course of 2 whole days! Sweat with Afrobeat Feat from home, stretch and learn your favorite Afro dance moves. Day 1 will include a Sweat Session where music and movement derive from Africa before a cool down and virtual mix and mingle.
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Hella Black Trivia
Are you a trivia buff? Missing trivia nights? Hella Black Trivia is an immersive entertainment experience for Boston's professionals who enjoy playing trivia and meeting new people, virtually. Launched in 2015, Hella Black Trivia is a social experiment centered on fun and community building across generations.
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM: INSPIRE: Roots to Blossom, A Self-Care Experience
This self-care experience is inclusive to those who have asked the question “What does Self-care really mean?”, “When was the last time I took an Intentional Pause?”,“How do I celebrate myself?”, "Why is journaling important?". Join TruPeace Wellness and Special Guests to get inspired, encouraged, and elevated to a place of connection and inner peace. Explore and experience the power of breath and meditation, journaling, and gentle movements through restorative yoga.
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM: 2nd Annual Catalyzing Community and Capital
This event will focus on assessing the current entrepreneurial ecosystem for founders of color and how current events in particular have affected it. We will use access to three key needs - technical assistance, space, and capital - as a focus for the conversation. The session will consist of two parts - a panel session and a collaborative brainstorming session. Participants will hear experiences from owner/founders of color of a small business, startup, and mid-sized enterprise during the panel session and then be provided time to share their thoughts on what’s working, not working, and suggestions for improvements.
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM: GroundBeat: A Virtual Series Featuring AfroDesiaCity
The Esplanade Association is excited to present GroundBeat: A Virtual Series Featuring AfroDesiaCity, a virtual concert series featuring artists of different music styles and backgrounds from throughout Greater Boston! GroundBeat is the Esplanade’s FREE Riverfront Music Series that aims to increase opportunities to perform on the Esplanade for producers and artists across greater Boston who are committed to increasing inclusivity and diversity in Boston’s arts scene.
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM: The Gay Agenda
Watch a staged reading of this documentary play involving local actors, designers, and technicians. Interviews in the play represent individuals from diverse experiences, ethnicities, religions, and orientations. Following the staged reading will be a talkback where the audience can hear directly from the invited speakers and provide feedback or commentary on the production.
SUN, SEP 20
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM: Fitness in Color
Looking for ways to stay fit and social in the new normal “virtual” world? Fitness in Color is giving young professionals the opportunity to experience the joys and benefits of incorporating fitness into their lives in a social and affordable way. We'll kick off with a panel of local fitness experts and influencers who will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn and ask questions.
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Find & Follow Your Passion
Join this event and discuss how to find your passion with an executive coach and listen to an engaging panel of women who chose to follow their passions. This workshop and panel discussion will help you to focus on following your passions and will provide you with knowledge on paths to entrepreneurship and ways to explore alternative career paths. By the end of this event you should feel empowered to follow your passion too!
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM: Social Impact Storytelling™
We believe in leveraging the power of storytelling to amplify work that contributes to our world. Organizational videos are media assets that can help you fundraise, shape your story, and/or build a presence online. At EmVision, we help forward-thinking organizations grow by harnessing Social Impact Storytelling™. In this interactive workshop, you will learn about our framework, analyze samples of our work, and apply these principles to your own organizations. You will also learn about our new grant program for select non-profits in Greater Boston.
1:15 PM - 4:00 PM: Afrobeat Fit Takeover
Afrobeat Fit will be invading the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival and will be bringing the sweat over the course of 2 whole days! Sweat with us from home, stretch and learn your favourite Afro dance moves during the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival. All programs are virtual and no African time.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Closing Ceremony!
This country, region, and city are facing a reckoning. As the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others exposed the always-present anti-Black racism in our society, young professionals are searching for opportunities to imagine and create a more just and equitable society for themselves, their communities, and for future generations. In this conversation we will explore the concept of anti-racism, explore racism in Boston, and think about anti-racist actions each of us can take.