Hope and Change for Haiti held their second annual International Women Day Celebration at the Rhode Island State House on Friday. The event was emceed by Pearl Farquharson. United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat, Rhode Island) attended, as did Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
Hope and Change for Haiti advocates for women and immigrant rights and to promote cultural awareness. The group was founded by Aniece Germain and Dr Norly Germain.
Caroline Jackson Morgan received a citation award from Senator Whitehouse for her volunteer political and social justice advocacy work.
Below is all the video from the event.
“Women’s rights must be a guarantee for all,” said Aniece Germain. “This struggle, to end all forms of discrimination against women, is real.”
“We still have some fights ahead of us in Washington,” said Senator Whitehouse. “We are still fighting for equal pay for equal work. We are pushing back hard against the efforts to degrade women’s health.”
“Part of achieving balance, not just as individuals but as activists and for the movement, is to know that we’re not just one individual or one organization,” said Dr Hilary Levey Friedman, President of the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Women (RI NOW). “Together we can find a balance and represent everybody.”
“This is a time that many of us have found troubling and disturbing at a national level,” said Treasurer Magaziner. It is “a time when we feel that all of the progress that has been made towards equality and justice over the centuries and the decades is being threatened… Here in Rhode ISland we have push back against that trend…”
Singer/songwriter Alison Rose performed he song, Hope.
“Although we have made significant strides in improving healthcare throughout the country,” said Providence City Councilor Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3). “Black and immigrant women are still at risk for poor health and economic outcomes.”
“We in the House are about to count 27 women among our 75 members,” said Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown), to applause. “And there’s 16 [women] in the 38 member Senate. Both chambers are at a record high for female representation. That’s something we should all be proud of.”
Quatia Osorio CCHW, CLC is a certified perinatal community health worker, certified lactation counselor and community birth and postpartum doula. She is studying to become a midwife.
“Challenges in maternal health are challenges for all of us,” said Osario. “We need to ask ourselves as a community: Do you know someone who has recently given birth? Have you checked on them?”
“It was a really big moment when the House passed the Reproductive Privacy Act,” said Jordan Hevenor, co-director of The Womxn Project, referring to the passage of a bill the night before that codified the protections of Roe v Wade into Rhode Island State Law. “For us, this issue is not a political issue it is a personal one. It is about each of us having the right and ability to make our own decisions. It is about honoring the agency of women. It is about women being able to decide how to build our families and our relationships.”
Tiara Mack is an educator and activist and a boardmember of Women’s Health and Education Fund (WHEF).
“Women [are] broadly defined in this new age to include so many into the fold – Black, Brown, Trans, gender nonconforming and a host of other identities – unify us into a shared fight for power. Women have come to challenge and confront issues with ferocious grace and determination through countless obstacles and systems meant to ensure our failure.”
Dr Norly Germain, Executive Director of Hope and Change for Haiti provided the closing words.