Many of King County’s leading antipoverty agencies are led by women of color. Their vision, life experience, and executive leadership skills drive how we work to solve poverty and ensure that all of our neighbors have equitable access to the resources they need to thrive.
For the first time ever, four of these leaders will come together for a dynamic community conversation at our next Social Justice Salon, Women of Color Leading Change, Tuesday, June 6, 7-9pm in The Great Hall at Town Hall Seattle.
Women of Color Leading Change is the brainchild of Solid Ground’s CEO, Shalimar Gonzales, and will include Andrea Caupain Sanderson, CEO of Byrd Barr Place, Janice Deguchi, Executive Director of Neighborhood House, and Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza. The four organizations are all members of the Washington Community Action Partnership, agencies with roots in the federal War on Poverty.
“Doing antipoverty work in a city with such a wealth disparity is challenging. And as leaders in this work, we have to wrestle with the expectations of our donors and community members, we have and manage internal tensions and expectations, and try to find time to sleep at night,” says Shalimar. “So the conversations I have with these dynamic leaders are important – and now we’re going to give people a peek into those conversations. I think it’s gonna get real and I think it’s gonna get deep.”
“As an antipoverty organization doing critical work in King County, we know we can’t solve these problems alone,” says Neighborhood House’s Janice Deguchi. “This is an opportunity to highlight our progress and rally the public to join the fight.”
The panelists will reflect on the legacy and lessons learned through decades of leadership in Seattle’s multicultural anti-oppression and social justice movements and the unique challenges of these times.
“Women have been a major part of these movements but are often being left out of the narrative,” says Converge Media producer and host TraeAnna Holiday, who will moderate the evening.
Shalimar adds, “There’s a natural tendency for folks to hold on to their wealth. People sometimes think, ‘I used to be that way and I’ve raised myself up. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, so why can’t everybody else do that?’ So what we see is a greater disparity than those aligned with race, gender, and with all the other -isms that you can point to.”
The conversation will explore:
- The intersection between poverty and racism, and how agencies providing direct services are also on the cutting edge of social justice.
- Impacts of the demographic shift of BIPOC communities to South King County on movements to end poverty and racism.
- The challenges and opportunities panelists face as Black and Brown women in a world where white men continue to hoard power.
While these organizations have BIPOC leadership and varying degrees of diversity among their staff, their funders, elected officials, donors, and other community stakeholders are predominantly white.
Women of Color Leading Change is part of Solid Ground’s Social Justice Salon series of in-person community conversations that bring together partners, leaders, and people who’ve experienced poverty in their own lives to discuss innovative solutions to our shared challenges.