April 12, 2018—On Saturday, April 7, 2018 at Bergen Community College, YWCA Bergen County and National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW 100) Bergen/Passaic Chapter hosted “50 Shades of Politics: Black Women Breaking Ground” to encourage women of all color, especially African American women, to get involved in the political process and continue to make strides toward equal representation.
Panelists included dynamic and inspirational African American women from different facets of the political arena, including Community Activist Estina Baker, NJ State Senator Sandra Cunningham, Political Strategist Marilyn Davis, Communications Strategist Tara Dowdell, NJ State Senator Nia Gill, Jersey City Councilwoman Denise Ridley, and NJ Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter. See the panel discussion in two parts at facebook.com/YWCABergenCounty/videos/10160183840935023 (Part 1) and facebook.com/YWCABergenCounty/videos/10160183915515023 (Part 2).
The panel discussion was followed by presentation of a special award to NJ Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver who is not only NJ’s first African American Lieutenant Governor but was also only the second woman and the second African American to serve as Assembly Speaker in NJ history, and the second African American woman nationwide to lead a state legislature.
Lieutenant Governor Oliver’s remarks were followed by a presentation on the importance of voter registration and the impact of voter turnout.
“While we have made strides and broken barriers, the fact is, women are underrepresented in leadership positions throughout our society, and this is especially true for women of color,” says YWCA Bergen County CEO Helen Archontou. “Women of color are about 18% of the U.S. population, and yet hold only 7% of seats in US Congress, not quite 3% of statewide executive seats, and just over 6% of seats in state legislatures. Fortune 500 boardrooms—where women of color hold just over 3% of board seats and more than two-thirds of companies have no women of color as board directors at all—suffer from the same leadership shortcomings. We need to have as many frank and actionable conversations like this as possible to change the landscape until women of color and all women are equally represented in all sectors of society.”
“The 50 Shades of Politics event, although focused on black women, highlighted that all women experience the same challenges for representation in politics and in the workforce; however the playing field for black women is much narrower,” says NCBW 100 Bergen/Passaic Chapter President Paula Madison-Ryner. “As like-minded organizations with similar goals to address racial disparities, the synergy of the partnership between the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Bergen/Passaic and YWCA Bergen County will continue to encourage, empower, and uplift women of color and women in general.”
About YWCA Bergen County
YWCA Bergen County (ywcannj.org) is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The organization is the area’s largest provider of childcare services, a recognized leader in health and fitness programs, and operator of healingSPACE, Bergen County’s only Sexual Violence Resource Center. Celebrating nearly a century of commitment to the community, today YWCA Bergen County improves the lives of thousands of women, girls, and families with the generous support of its donors (ywcannj.org/get-involved/donategive). Follow YWCA Bergen County on Facebook (@YWCABergenCounty), Twitter (@YWBergen), Instagram (ywca_bc), and LinkedIn.
About National Coalition of 100 Black Women Bergen/Passaic Chapter
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (NCBW 100) Bergen/Passaic Chapter is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-partisan network of women committed to advocating on behalf of black women and girls to promote leadership development and gender equity in the area of health, education, and economic empowerment. NCBW 100 was formed in 1970 as a national organization, and in Bergen County in 1986, in response to the civil rights era fight against social injustices. As an organization, NCBW 100 Bergen/Passaic Chapter has remained vigilant as a voice against social inequities, and continues to be a voice to educate and empower those served by the organization in Bergen and Passaic communities. Learn more: ncbwbergenpassaic.org