Women’s History Month: Uplifting Powerful Female Voices in Social Justice

March 29, 2017

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting some of the incredible women who have passed through our Communications Institute and Creative Change Retreat. These social justice leaders - artists, advocates, and activists – are truly breaking barriers with their work and flipping the script in ways that only a woman could do. We are honored to work with them and excited about the future they are creating.

Communications Institute Fellow Janaé Bonsu (CI ’16) wrote an op-ed for Essence called “Black People Need Sanctuary Cities, Too.Janaé is the National Public Policy Director for BYP 100. “When I hear the word ‘sanctuary,’ I envision a place that is safe for everyone — regardless of citizenship status, gender, religion, or any other marker that deems one ‘other’ in this country. That vision does not include Donald Trump, the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Patrol nor local police departments,” she writes.

Gina Womack (CI ’15) wrote a letter to the editor in the Washington Post responding to a March 3 article on juvenile detention centers that are charging parents for their children’s boarding fees. She argues that “parents don’t need fees; they need support.” Gina is executive director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children.

Humorous drawing of a birth control pill

Creative Change alumna and comedian extraordinaire Negin Farsad (CC ’12, CC ’11) gave a TED Talk called “Can Humor Fight Prejudice?” which was broadcast on NPR’s Ted Radio Hour last weekend. And fellow Creative Change comedian, Lizz Winsted (CC ’13, CC ’14), launched a Schoolhouse Rock style animation, “Just a Pill” with the Lady Parts Justice League. “Help school Neil Gorsuch on Plan B with #JustAPill!’” she tweeted.

The Metropolitan Community Church of New York (MCCNY) has honored Creative Change and Communications Institute alumna Jamila Hammami (CI ’15, CC’ 16) with their HEART award for her work with the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. Jamila will be officially honored during MCCNY’s gala banquet on Sat., April 15 at the Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan. The HEART award honors those in the community who are creating change in the world both locally and globally. “As I continue to learn, grow and evolve as a leader, I am grateful to receive this award in recognition of the labor that I've put in to advocate for our communities,” Jamila said. Click here for tickets to attend the gala.

Photo of Communications Institute Fellow Jamila Hammami

Catherine Tactaquin (CI ’16) was quoted in a Boston Globe story in opposition to Trump’s travel ban on March 6. Catherine, who is executive director of the National Institute for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said that no amount of revision could change her organization's opposition to the ban. “Together with the suspension of refugee program for 120 days, [the order] puts into jeopardy the lives of so many people seeking safe haven in the United States,” she said.

ACLU of Texas Policy Strategist Astrid Dominguez (CI ’16) appeared in a story in the Texas Observer on Texas state troopers turning routine traffic stops into deportations against immigrants. Astrid and other advocates argue that such cooperation crosses constitutional lines. “I think everyone’s fear is that it will start happening a lot more,” she said.