In Her Own Words … it’s language that you’ll hear us reference in the coming months. It describes our empowerment. It describes our skill sets and experiences that collectively will shape the future of this state.
We are launching the In Her Own Words Listening Tour – and for the next 230 days we’re traveling the state to hear from you.
The In Her Own Words Listening and Learning Tour is the evolution of a stellar body of work created five years ago by women who valued the women in North Carolina enough to invest the time and the resources into creating an organization that would create new opportunities for women’s insights and intellect to be expressed. We created a space that ultimately was democratic, intergenerational, informative and entertaining.
To share our victory in accomplishing this, let us take you back to the WHY of Women AdvaNCe. We wanted to do this forever. We wanted to make sure that women all across North Carolina in every corner heard the news and shared the news about issues facing them and their families. It previously did not exist. Really. So a couple of us got together and decided to change all that. Most of us worked in some sort of political, non-profit, academic, direct service organization that supported women. I think we all had been thinking of doing something like this for a long time. Our passions were a match in need of striking.
The friction that sparked the flame was the 2012 election, when women stayed home and did not vote. We all woke up on November 7th in disbelief. Maybe it would not be so bad. Maybe policies that effect woman and their families would be spared. They weren’t. While our match was flickering, lawmakers were burning down the houses of education, health care and environmental protections. One by one the General Assembly rolled out one bill after the next that stuck it to North Carolina women and the state we live in. You name it, it was swift, comprehensive and damaging. It hurt!
In that moment we knew that we had to ensure that we would do everything in our power to educate women about issues that related to them and their families. Women AdvaNCe was born. We created a communication and advocacy organization that would connect, inform and engage women about things that effected their life every single day. Health, the economy, jobs and education just to name the obvious. We trusted our strategic progressive partners to help us by providing fact driven data. We needed to be trustworthy and reliable. We built a website where original, factual, interesting and informative content could be found. Our skilled writing staff conveyed information in a language that wasn’t wonky but was relatable. It worked.
We also wanted to be on the ground, in communities where stories of unfair and regressive policies were hurting women and their families. Women AdvaNCe introduced AdvaNCe Teams in select cities and counties where Team Leaders would attract their own circles of community members in gatherings where they could share their most pressing issues. Every city, every county clearly had differing needs but what was clear was that engagement was critical to give voice to their concerns. We set about to support these women and help them with tried and true organizing tools and methods.
Now, we start our 5th year. Women AdvaNCe wants to know more about you, about the issues facing you every day. The Listening and Learning Tour will be coming to a town near you. We aspire to reach all corners of the state. You will be able to make your voices heard, your issues discussed, your lives supported. And with that chorus of collective conversation we intend to illuminate what binds us together. After all building stronger communities takes all of us working together to bring about lasting change. When the year is up we will come together at the 2017 Women AdvaNCe Summit.
We will be listening to you and learning with you on this journey. As we listen we want to understand the issues that are important to you and your family; we want to understand how you are creating solutions to these issues; we want to hear from you how Women Advance and other community based organizations can be helpful.
And yes, we will be learning. We will learn what your assets are personally and collectively. We will learn the points of intersectionality that we must leverage in order to become stronger, we will learn how to strategically amplify our voices to create change.
In our own WORDS we will speak truth to power, in our own WORDS we will remember we are the ones we have been waiting for.
We invite you to join us on this journey…Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in hosting and/or attending.
Laura Edwards, Founder
& Naomi Randolph, Executive Director