NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Hundreds of female African-American state lawmakers from around the country are getting together in Nashville this weekend.
The group is called N.O.B.E.L. Women, short for National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women.
The legislative session is over for now, and sometimes when lawmakers aren’t at the state capitol, they sometimes meet with counterparts from other states for ideas, education and support.
“All of us are mamas, and we know what we need to do with families, and what we try to do is pass it on, and at these conferences you always learn something,” said Sen. Thelma Harper.
Harper, a longtime Tennessee state senator, remembers when there were not many of these faces in state legislatures around the country.
But now they’re gathering here in Nashville, where ideas can lead to bills later.
Among the wide-ranging items this year are safe drinking water, black women in tech, and Friday’s session on human trafficking.
Rep. Karen Camper, of Memphis, likes N.O.B.E.L’s emphasis on getting young black women to go where sometimes they don’t.
“We have a partner in Silicon Valley that comes and talks to them about things like coding. That is one of our signature programs,” Camper told News 2.
The lawmaker knows her work at the state legislature comes on the shoulders of those elected decades ago, like Alabama lawmaker Laura Hall.
“Many times you will find only one black woman serving, and so they have an opportunity to come to come to our meetings, feel the bond and see there are others out here fighting the fight, too,” Hall said.
Another influential group for lawmakers, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, meets here in Nashville later this year.