Photo Credit to Andrea Gamboa, taken 2017.
“Don’t Call it a Come Back, WE’ve Been Here for Years!”
Hello Supporters of WE!
In the words of Hip Hop legend LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback..” Women Engaged has been here for years! Yet, I am excited to share with you our fresh newsletter that will be distributed monthly with updates on all that is happening at Women Engaged! I think of you often and hope that you and yours are finding ways to be well during this key turning point in US history. You may not have known, but in the midst of the current pandemic, Women Engaged (WE) is celebrating five years of dedicated service focusing on comprehensive voter engagement, election protection, political leadership training, mentorship, selfcare and public policy advocacy in Georgia. We are living out our vision to create a world that cherishes and respects Black women and girls especially during these most unsettling of times. And this moment reminds me of this profound quote:
“Centering on Black joy (...) is about holding the pain and injustice we experience as Black folks around the world in tension with the joy we experience in the pain’ midst. Black joy is healing, resistance and regeneration. The two, joy and pain, are not mutually exclusive, and often we need the latter to get through the former.” Kleaver Cruz, Founder of the Black Joy Project.Read more
The 2020 census is here and you are a part of that count. Every ten years the government takes a count of U.S citizens. These numbers are used to allocate resources to your family and your community. Resources that contribute to the businesses in your community, the number of elected representatives your community has, in addition to the amount of funding that goes into your neighborhood for things like school lunches, improving roads, and educational programs in your area. Historically, Black people, as well as indigenous people and other people of color have been undercounted, but now, the Census will be administered online, so we have the power to ensure that does not happen this time.Read more
There is currently one candidate representing each major party in the 2020 Presidential Primaries. Why participate? By casting your vote in the primaries, you are letting your political voice be heard, no matter how many candidates are on the ballot. It is your way of saying “I’m here!” Now that the Presidential primaries have moved to a new date, so have our state primaries. There is so much more at stake, such as our U.S. Senate and House Seats, state executives, and Georgia House and Senate members in your district.Read more
Cashauna Hill has served as Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center since April 2015. At GNOFHAC, Cashauna leads a team of 15 fair housing advocates and directs their work throughout Louisiana to eradicate housing discrimination and its harmful effects.
Author Amoni Thompson
Award-winning Black feminist lesbian documentary filmmaker Aishah Shahidah Simmons is the 2015-2016 Sterling A. Brown '22 Visiting Professor of Africana Studies, a 2016-2018 Just Beginnings Collaborative Fellow, and an Associate Editor of the online publication The Feminist Wire. You can follow her on twitter @AfroLez.
Photo Credit: Julie Yarbrough
Author Amoni Thompson
Victoria Ferguson-Young is the Executive Director of The Kindred Moxie Network, Inc. and the Coordinator of DeKalb County’s Ending Abuse in Later Life Project. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA and has been active in the movement to end domestic and gender-based violence since 2007.
In April of this year, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and White House senior advisor and Chair of White House Council on Women and Girls, Valerie Jarrett, announced the launch of their paid leave advocacy tour, "Lead On Leave: Empowering Working Families Across America." The goal for the tour was to promote and advocate for paid leave policies in work environments across the nation, and to educate the public on how these policies can positively affect our economy. The tour kicked off in the city of Seattle but soon made its way to Atlanta. There to address a room full of non-profit and for profit organizations, community leaders, employers and employees of various businesses in Atlanta were Mayor Kasim Reed and Valerie Jarrett. Jane Smith, the Executive Director of LEADS at Spelman College, joined the armchair conversation as the moderator.Read more
“My name is Eshe Shukura. I am 24 years old and a recent graduate of Hampshire College with a BA in Liberal Arts emphasizing in Theatre. I am a long time youth activist, I was active in youth organizations such as the Project South Institution for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide Youth Council and the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, a company known for their thought provoking plays. Most recently I have been marching and protesting in support of the people of Ferguson and the demilitarization of the police. I also encouraged local people to GOTV in the midterm election with We Vote We Rise.
The founding of We Vote We Rise, offered so many young people, including me, an opportunity to engage in the electoral process. Voting is often an afterthought for many youth of color, who struggle to see the collective power of their voices. We Vote We Rise offered a paid position that put young people of color at center of the midterm election through door to door canvassing and phone banking. We gained power through being vessel of agency for the voters we outreached to; reminding them to vote and surveying them about their concerns in their communities and lives. We were educated on the importance of voting, the effect this current elections had of healthcare and reproductive justice rights.”
Ian Janke, 22 yrs., Hip-Hop Artist and DJ
Just 6 weeks after being in the hospital recovering from multiple gun wounds due to a random shooting two blocks from his home in the Atlanta, GA, community of Old Fourth Ward, 21 years old Ian Janke joined the We Vote. We Rise! GOTV door canvassing team. He talked to people about healthcare access, safe communities, and the importance of getting out to vote. While this was the first time Ian ever participated in a GOTV team, registered to vote, and participate in an election, Ian shortly became a leader among his peers. He began coaching newly hired young people and became an inspiration to the team.
As a Hip-Hop artist and DJ, Ian was able to bridge his political work with the arts as the opening act for the 2014 Rock the Vote concert in Atlanta, GA, featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. Ian electrified the crowd inspiring his peers with his testimony and encouraging them to vote and learn about the issues impacting their communities. Ian stated through the We Vote. We Rise! program, he learned more about current events in Georgia, gained a better understanding of the issues facing his community, and wants to stay involved in the political process agreeing that changing public policy is a necessary part to help solve societal problems.
Meet Women Engaged's featured community leader, Christi Ketchum, the Founding Director of Our Rightful Place, LLC., based in Sacramento, CA. Christi started Our Rightful Place in 2011 as an answer to a longtime passion of having a nurturing space that allows Black women to discuss pertinent social and interpersonal issues and develop ways to respond collectively.