Women of color are powerful women.
We have come together with like-minded women to create a Women of Color and Allies Summit and are discussing challenges often disregarded at a societal level. What are the problems that you care about the most or that you’ve worked on? How can we elevate them to a more visible level and throw our combined weight behind solutions.
Issues participants have raised:
- Racism, unlivable family wages, women in the military?
- Family violence and sexual abuse? We can’t afford to ignore why so many in our society are becoming more violent.
- How do people access resources in rural and under-served communities? Why are there a growing number of women of color in jails and prison?
- Health care that isn’t there and legitimate research that doesn’t include women of color?
- Education that isn’t meeting expectations, immigration reform and more?
- What is your employer doing for you, for women and your community?
- The US food system and its historic imbalance of social and economic justice? What is its connection to health care, environment, worker rights and immigration?
- How do we support the men in our communities while strengthening ourselves as women?
We realized as these issues emerged in discussion that they followed the central idea:
How race is constructed in the United States and applied to
contemporary issues. Our conclusion was that this should be the theme for our northwest summit.
A. Philip Randolph Institute, Tacoma Chapter, WA (http://www.apri.org)
Diane Benson, Native woman and candidate for US Representative, Alaska
Susan Chew, Idaho State Representative and Idaho NOW President
Community to Community Development, Bellingham, WA (http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/)
Hispanic Women’s Network, Thurston County, WA (www.hispanicwomensnetworkwa.org)
Inland NW Women’s Leadership Program and WSU Women’s Resource Center, Pullman, WA
Korean Women’s Association, Tacoma, WA (http://www.kwaoutreach.org/)
Mujers Unidas de Idaho, Boise, ID (http://www.mujeresunidasidaho.org/)
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Seattle Chapter, WA
NW Regional NOW; Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana State NOW Boards
Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Portland, OR (http://www.ocadsv.com/)
Women of Color Alliance, Boise, ID (www.wocaonline.org)
YWCA of Pierce County, Tacoma, WA
WILD, San Francisco, CA (http://www.wildforhumanrights.org/)
The Evergreen State College Labor Education and Research Center, Olympia WA (http://www.evergreen.edu/laborcenter/home.htm)
US Women and Cuba Collaboration, Seattle WA (www.womenandcuba.org)
Allyship.org, Seattle WA
We welcome your participation in the conference phone calls used to organize NWWOCA. The next ones are Tuesdays at 9 AM Alaska time, 10 AM Pacific time and 11 AM Mountain time: October 2nd, October 16th, October 30th, November 6th. We expect different levels of engagement—don’t be shy! This is an opportunity for you to help in many different areas of your expertise—workshops, speakers, fundraising, outreach and more. Your help will bring to light those issues so close to our hearts.
Contact email@example.com or call 206/448-7348 x 334 to get involved!
Background of WOCA
Women of color have a history of feminism. Those who gathered at the First Women’s Rights Conference in Seneca Falls back in 1848 learned about democracy and the right to vote from Native American women in that region who already practiced it in their Native communities.
African American women like Fannie Lou Hammer, who was jailed and beaten for protesting white’s only policies and whose efforts helped lead to the passing of the US Voting Rights Act. Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the US House of Representatives, a founding member of New York NOW, our first chapter, and a fierce advocate for women’s rights.
Then there’s Patsy Mink, the first Japanese-American woman attorney in Hawaii and known as the mother/author of Title IX that opened up school athletics to girls and women. She inspired us all as the first woman of color to be elected to the House of Representatives.
Dolores Huerta was a fierce fighter for women and workers rights. She co-founded the United Farm Workers of America after a long struggle and critical grape boycott. Among many other things, she won the right to vote in Spanish in California, and is presently a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Two years ago, over 400 people attended a national Women of Color and Allies Summit in Arlington, Virginia sponsored by the National Organization for Women and co-sponsored by many women of color organizations. Here in the Northwest, we are bringing together organizations from our six state area interested in working on issues affecting women of color communities and multi-cultural organizations.
Outcomes of the national WOCA included the Women of Juárez Campaign, the need for Immigration Reform, an Economic Justice Summit and formation of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights.
What does NOW stand for?
The National Organization for Women is the largest, most comprehensive feminist advocacy group in the United States. Our purpose is to take action to bring women into full participation in society –sharing equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities with men, while living free of discrimination. Our priority issues include: advancing reproductive justice, promoting diversity and ending racism, stopping violence against women, winning lesbian rights, achieving constitutional equality and ensuring economic justice. For more information, go to www.now.org