Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2018

PAST EVENT: #me too and you event

by Bridget Basham

Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia

On Saturday, July 14, 2018, OWA presented #me too and you, hosted at Gould Evans' new community-based event space in San Francisco. The day was supported by both AIASF and AIAEB with generous sponsorship from Dunn Edwards Paint Company and 3Form, who provided lunch for the day-long event.

OWA's Spring Friedlander and Bridget Basham, with the help of the other Steering Committee members, programmed the day which aimed at establishing a safe environment to share experiences and to empower women and minorities with respect to their working lives.

Photo by Maryam Moayery Nia

Natalie Riccomini celebrated Cahill's Site Superintendent Bart Fockler. Together with Jack Gardner, from Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), these two Champions of Change were recognized for supporting and consciously promoting women and minorities into leadership positions.

Fifteen years ago, the NPH Board was made up with only one person of color. Today, their Board is 60% people of color and almost 50% women. An admirable result compared to 3 years ago when the Board was only 25% people of color and less than 40% women.

Melissa Jones, Poet, Singer and Songwriter read several of her poems which marked a serious shift in focus; these acknowledged the violence and oppression, which particularly women of color endure. The theme continued as a long-time OWA member, (whose identity will remain undisclosed), shared her story that chronicled real obstacles, systematic of institutional bias, to her assuming a leadership role for which she was qualified.

To kick things off, Bridget introduced the concept of "Male Champions of Changeā€ a Gender Equity issue of international social and economic importance involving leaders who are wiling to step up, collaborate, listen, learn and lead with action."

Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia

The day underscored the importance of creating opportunities that celebrate one another, and empower us to confidently move toward our rightful positions within our professional realms and within society. Being aware of the context we work in is helpful. The hope is that these important conversations are continued at OWA's Monthly Mixers and focused events in 2019.

Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia

Then OWA's Helen Vasquez screened Abby Wamboch's powerful address to women: Women are feared as a threat to our system - and we will also be our society's salvation... We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Throughout the day, attendees encouraged one another to be more confident in discussing these issues within professional environments and to continually advocate for themselves, as-well-as for other women and minorities.

Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia

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