Women advocacy org hosts Brazile

“There’s something about growing up in poverty that you never forget,” Louisiana native and Democratic Party powerhouse Donna Brazile told over 1,000 women at a luncheon May 19.

“There’s something about growing up in poverty that you never forget,” Louisiana native and Democratic Party powerhouse Donna Brazile told over 1,000 women at a luncheon May 19.

Further, being a woman in this country has its challenges as well, she said.

Brazile made her remarks during her keynote address to members and supporters of the Women Employed non-profit empowerment and activist organization.

The organization reaches out to political, employment and social establishments on behalf of women – especially poor ones – to help ensure that women have a fair share in opportunities and pay as their male counterparts.

Brazile told the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-partisan group of women at the luncheon held in a Fairmont Hotel ballroom that they can help “make a difference in the lives of people who don’t believe help is on the way.”

The recent Democratic National Committee interim chair, political strategist, former campaign manager for Al Gore’s presidential campaign, CNN and ABC commentator and best-selling author offered a tone of conviction tempered by injections of humor as she told of the political onslaught on women over the years. She also talked about what she called current attacks on poor and working-poor women through Republican-proposed cuts to social and welfare programs.

She explained, however, that education remains the key to success and upliftment.

Brazile gave a pat on the back to women like Malcolm X College student Tina Jackson who persevere despite their circumstances.

Jackson, the Women Employed’s Ambassador to Student Advocates for Success, found herself homeless after initially starting college and falling ill. But with some financial assistance and personal drive, Jackson told the luncheon-goers that she made a conscious decision to press forward to become the first in her family to finish college. Along the way, she said, she wants to be an advocate and inspiration for struggling students.

Brazile said she was a life-long supporter of WE and lauded the organization for “being a part of the change that this great country needed.”

The WE luncheon attracted some of the state’s and county’s powerful women officials with Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, NAACP Lakeside President among the attendees.

WE says that millions of women in the workforce have benefited from the organization’s advocacy. Among the accomplishments it boasts, WE says it was in the vanguard for the fight to preserve affirmative action for women’s advancement. The organization also says it helped win millions of dollars to help low-income students attend and stay in college. Additionally, WE says it was part of helping with getting the national Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the Family Medical Leave Act.

WE and Brazile both say that as far as women have come with economic parity and other issues, they still have a ways to go.

The situation for women in the U.S. has gotten better, “but we can go further,” Brazile said.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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