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Women’s Conference Focuses on Racial Justice and Economic Equity
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Published March 30, 2017

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Panelist Juanita Hamilton (2nd from left) and moderator Jan Perry (2nd from right) welcome attendees during the “Women Rising” conference on March 25. (Photo Courtesy)

A wide spectrum of women gathered March 25 to discuss strategies to level the playing field for African American females when it comes to color and pay.

The “Women Rising” conference, subtitled as “organizing power for the achievement of racial justice and economic equity,” was sponsored by Holman United Methodist Church in L.A.’s West Adams District.  Scores of people came out to converse with a diverse group of women from various occupations and examine ways to overcome discrimination and attain parity in several areas.

“We invited speakers and panelists to provide inspiration and instruction on the journey towards equality in business, medicine, law, community organizing, education, spirituality, politics and others fields that contribute to the stabilization of families, revitalization of communities and transformation of the world,” said Holman Pastor Kelvin Sauls.

The program opened with keynote remarks from Erin Hawkins, general secretary of the General Commission of the United Methodist Church; and Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, dean of the College of Medicine at Charles Drew University.

The next section featured Jan Perry, general manager of the Los Angeles Economic and Work Development Department, as moderator of a panel consisting of Renee L. Campbell, an attorney and president of the Los Angeles Business Licensing Commission; Gerde Govine, who serves on the Los Angeles County Commission for Women; Juanita Hamilton, civil rights advocate and president and CEO of The Hamilton Enterprise Group; Margaret Preacely, a public health professional and former Freedom Rider; and Kiana Webb, philanthropist and president of Webb Family Enterprises.

Each of the women revealed their personal stories and aspirations as well as advice to overcome setbacks and adapt to changing situations.   The panelists also emphasized that women possess the necessary qualities and fortitude to accomplish any goal they seek.

“My grandmother always said, ‘I was here before you got here and will be here long after you’re gone,” said Perry. “It was her expression on how women are well-equipped to survive even the greatest of obstacles to come out on the other side and prevail.”

Hawkins added, “To women who are organizing, this is our time. We have the power to bring life changes!”

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Panelist Kiana Webb (2nd from right) with audience members at the “Women Rising” conference. (Photo Courtesy)

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Panelists Gerde Govine (left) and Margaret Preacely. (Photo Courtesy)

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