This International Women’s Day, we reflect on the momentous shifts in dialogue and action that have taken place over the last year, especially around sexual assault, harassment, and workplace discrimination. It is awe-inspiring to see what women united together can accomplish!
As Alfre Woodard, our upcoming King County Luncheon speaker, told a crowd of nearly 600,000 women and allies earlier this year, "One thing I learned growing up as a woman of color was that when anybody's rights are compromised, that means that your rights are at risk as well. The other thing I learned from my mom was if anybody's telling the truth, you never let them stand alone."
In the spirit of the trailblazing women of #MeToo, #TimesUp, and beyond, we now call on our community to join us in celebrating the bravery of women and ask for your renewed commitment in the fight for gender equity.
Even in our thriving region, the harsh reality is that far too many women experience discrimination, harassment, abuse, and exclusion on a regular basis. This is why the work of our organization is as necessary as it always has been. We have worked toward this for almost 125 years, and we cannot rest now.
It is our responsibility to press for progress and gender equity by undoing all forms of systemic oppression. Inspired by the words of human rights advocate, and our Snohomish County Luncheon speaker, Naomi Tutu, “As human beings, we can live in this world respecting one another, and live in a world that respects us because of our gender, because of our race, and because of our culture.”
We must motivate and unite our friends, colleagues, and communities to think, act, and create a world that is inclusive and welcoming for ALL women. It’s time for our community to aspire for greater acceptance and #PressForProgress.
Some ways we believe that can happen include:
- We call on all members of our community to challenge damaging stereotypes, especially against our most vulnerable populations;
- create higher visibility of women in leadership roles at work;
- influence positive policy change towards gender equity;
- and celebrate women’s achievements today and all days.
Maria Chavez-Wilcox is the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. She is the organization's first Latina CEO and has over thirty years of experience as a nonprofit executive, social services advocate, community leader, and philanthropist
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