“WOMEN CREATING CHANGE”

Women Creating Change is a group helping others in underserved communities. Learn what they’re up to, and how you can join their ranks.

Aired on May 7, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> YOU KNOW, THEY SAY IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT, GET IT DONE BY A WOMAN.

SINCE 1915, BEEN THE EMBODIMENT WITH WOMEN SUCCESSFULLY WORKING TO IMPROVE LIVING CONDITIONS OF COUNTLESS NEW YORKERS.

THE 104-YEAR-OLD ORGANIZATION WHICH HAD ELEANOR ROOSEVELT AS ONE OF THE EARLIEST MEMBERS, NOW HAS A NEW NAME.

WOMEN CREATING CHANGE.

DOES IT HAVE A NEW MISSION?

JOINING US TO ANSWER THAT AND OTHER QUESTIONS, CAROL WACY AND VICE CHAIR, DEBRA MARTIN OWENS.

WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.

PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US BACK.

CAROL, LET ME START WITH YOU.

BEFORE THE NAME CHANGE AND WHAT IT MEANS, I'M WONDERING IF YOU COULD GIVE US A HISTORY OF THE VENERABLE ORGANIZATION THAT YOU NOW HEAD.

WHY DID IT COME TO BE IN 1915 AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU'VE DONE OVER THE DECADES TO HELP THE LIVING CONDITIONS OF NEW YORKERS?

THANKS, RAF.

AS YOU SAID, THE ORGANIZATION HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE 1915 AND OVER THAT TIME, IF YOU GO BACK TO THE EARLY DAYS OF THE ORGANIZATION.

THINK ABOUT WOMEN AND WHERE THEY STOOD IN SOCIETY IN 1915, THEY DIDN'T HAVE MUCH POWER, THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

THEY DIDN'T HAVE MUCH.

IT WAS REALLY A GROUP OF WOMEN WHO CAME TOGETHER TO SAY, HEY, THIS IS A DIFFERENT TIME AND WE HAVE ACCESS TO.

SO THE ORGANIZATION WAS FOUNDED EARLY ON TO FIGHT FOR THINGS LIKE THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND WCC WAS INCREDIBLY INVOLVED IN THAT.

OVER TIME, THEY FORMED THE FIRST BIRTHING CENTER, REALLY IMPORTANT, GIVING MATERNAL CARE FOR WOMEN, WHICH IS, CONTINUES TO BE AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR WOMEN.

WORKED ON HOMELESSNESS ISSUES FOR WOMEN.

WORKED ON HIV/AIDS EDUCATION IN SCHOOL AND BROADER ISSUES LIKE THAT.

OVER THE YEARS, WORKED ON REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT WOULD IMPACT THE LIVES OF NEW YORKERS.

SO BIG ISSUES AND TRYING TO HAVE BIG IMPACTS IN THE CITY.

MAJOR POLICY ISSUES THAT THEY WORKED ON AND OVER THE YEARS, HAVE HAD A LOT OF IMPACT.

SO DEBRA, WHY THE NAME CHANGE?

YOU'VE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL FOR 104 YEARS.

WHY CHANGE ANYTHING?

THE CITY CLUB AT THE TIME AND VOTE THE, SORT OF THE INFLUENCES OF THE DAY.

MOST OF THE ORGANIZATIONS AT THAT TIME WERE CLUB ORGANIZATIONS.

THEY WERE FOR WOMEN WHO WERE WELL CONNECTED TO THEIR HUSBANDS AND HAD GREAT RELATIONSHIPS.

IN 2019, WOMEN ARE ON THEIR OWN NOW AND SO WOMEN CREATING CHANGE IS MORE INCLUSIVE AND ALLOWS FOR WOMEN OF ALL SPECTRUMS TO BE INVOLVED IN THE ORGANIZATION.

THAT WAS ALWAYS THE CASE BUT NOW YOU'RE MAKING IT CLEAR.

WE'RE MAKING IT VERY CLEAR TO SAY, WE'RE BEING INCLUSIVE.

SO IT REFLECTS THE DIFFERENT DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE CITY.

DOES IT MEAN A CHANGE IN MISSION?

I THINK, YOU KNOW, IT'S STILL THE SAME MISSION IN THAT WE'RE PUTTING WOMEN IN THE FOREFRONT BUT I THINK TO SAY IT'S WOMEN CREATING CHANGE AS OPPOSED TO THE CLUB, I THINK THAT'S LETTING EVERYONE KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A PARTICULAR BACKGROUND.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO SAY ALL THE CITY CAN BE INVOLVED IN THIS ORGANIZATION.

SO CAROL, AS YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS PUT IT, WOMEN ARE UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO BE LEADERS IN THEIR HOMES, NEIGHBORHOODS AND COMMUNITIES BUT OFTEN FACE BARRIERS.

WHAT ARE THE CHIEF BARRIERS WOMEN FACE TODAY?

IF YOU LOOK ACROSS NEW YORK CITY, YOU KNOW, THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOMEN.

THERE'S WOMEN OF ALL DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.

THERE'S IMMIGRANT WOMEN, DOCUMENTED AND NOT DOCUMENTED, HEAD OF HOUSEHOLDS, SINGLE MOMS, WOMEN HAVE A LOT ON THEIR PLATE.

THEY'RE WORKING JOBS.

WE KNOW NEW YORK IS CHALLENGING TO EVERYONE.

IT'S EXPENSIVE TO LIVE HERE.

IT CAN BE A REAL CHALLENGE TO HAVE A GOOD JOB AND EARN A GOOD LIVING AND RAISE YOUR FAMILY AND GET THEM A GOOD EDUCATION.

ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE CHALLENGING, GENERALLY, FOR EVERYBODY.

BUT THEN WHEN YOU LOOK AT OUR UNDERSERVED POPULATION, THOSE WHO ARE EARNING LESS, THOSE WHO LIVE IN POVERTY.

WE'RE REALLY LOOKING TO MAKE SURE THOSE WOMEN HAVE A VOICE AND THAT THERE ARE CLEAR OPPORTUNITIES TO GET THEM INVOLVED LOCALLY IN THEIR COMMUNITIES TO MAKE THEIR LIVES BETTER AND ULTIMATELY, THE CITY BETTER.

DO YOU HAVE SOME CONCRETE AGENDA ITEMS THAT YOU HAVE DECIDED TO TACKLE?

WHEN I CAME ON THE BOARD, WE HAD SORT OF LOTS OF DIFFERENT AREAS AND HERE WE'RE REALLY FOCUSING ON UNDERREPRESENTED WOMEN.

SO WE REALLY WANT TO EMPOWER THE WOMEN TO EMPOWER THEMSELVES AND LAID OUT A WONDERFUL PLATFORM SHE CAN TALK ABOUT REGARDING OUR CIVIC MATTERS PROGRAM.

YEAH.

TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THAT.

GREAT, SO WE LAID OUT THIS AGENDA CALLED CIVIC MATTERS.

THINK ABOUT MATTERS AS BOTH A KNOWN AS A VERB.

VERY ACTION ORIENTED BUT CIVICS DO MATTER.

AND WE WANT EVERYONE TO BE A PART OF THAT.

SO WE LAID OUT A THREE YEAR STRATEGY.

IT'S GOING TO FOCUS ON GETTING PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE AND WE HAVE THIS ONLINE RESOURCE PEOPLE CAN GO TO ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

WE'LL BE CURATING CONTENT FROM ACROSS THE CITY ABOUT CIVIC ENGAGEMENT THAT DIRECTLY AFFECTS WOMEN AND THEN WE'RE GOING TO GIVE THEM REAL TOOLS AND RESOURCES TO BE ABLE TO TAKE ACTION ON THAT.

SO INFORMATION, FOR INSTANCE, IF SOMEBODY WANTS TO VOLUNTEER IN THEIR COMMUNITY, THERE'S A GREAT ORGANIZATION CALLED NEW YORK CARES.

THEY CURATE A LOT OF RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO GET ENGAGED.

IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE VOTING, THERE'S SOMETHING CALLED WHO'S ON THE BALLOT UP AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

IT WAS PRODUCED UP THERE.

WE'RE GOING TO TAKE ALL KINDS OF RESOURCES.

HOW TO VOTE, HOW TO GET INVOLVED, PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING AND GIVE TOOLS AND RESOURCES AND HOPEFULLY EDUCATE THEM A LITTLE BIT ALONG THE WAY AS TO WHY IT MATTERS AND THEN GOING OUT INTO COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS THE CITY, ALL FIVE BOROUGHS, DOING ISSUES ON WORKSHOPS THAT MATTER TO THEM.

THEY'LL TELL US WHAT MATTERS AND DEVELOP THE WORKSHOP BASED ON THAT AND GIVE THEM TOOLS AND EDUCATION AND REAL ACTION SO THEY CAN COME OUT AND DO THINGS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

THE THIRD PIECE IS AROUND FELLOWSHIP.

HOPING TO PARTNER WITH A WELL KNOWN FELLOWSHIP ORGANIZATION.

IF SOMEBODY WANTS TO GO DEEPER, HAVE A LONGER INVOLVEMENT OR ENGAGEMENT AND THEN THE FINAL PIECE OF IT IS WE'RE TALKING WITH CUNY.

WE LOVE CUNY HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, ACROSS ALL FIVE BURROUGHS.

CUNY SERVES EVERYBODY IN THE CITY.

YOU MAKE A PUSH TO YOUNGER WOMEN.

HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT?

IT'S INTERESTING YOU SAY THAT.

SO CURRENTLY ON THE BOARD, WE HAVE SOME AMAZING DYNAMIC WOMEN ON THE BOARD WHO ARE REALLY PIONEERS IN ALL KINDS OF BACKGROUNDS FROM SOCIAL WORK TO THOSE IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION TO THE MEDICAL PROFESSION.

WHAT WE DON'T HAVE IN TERMS OF DIVERSITY IS YOUNGER WOMEN ON THE BOARD, SO I THINK FOR NOW, THEY NEED TO ENGAGE THOSE WOMEN.

THEY ARE LEADING, OUR FUTURE LEADERS.

I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE PASS THE MANTLE ON TO THOSE WOMEN.

MEMBERSHIP UNDER 35 IS FREE?

WHICH IS GREAT, GREAT.

I SHARED IT WITH ALL THE YOUNGER FOLKS I KNOW.

SAY YOU NEED TO JOIN AND BE INVOLVED.

ALL RIGHT.

WE WANT EVERYBODY AT THE TABLE.

OLDER PEOPLE, YOUNGER PEOPLE, EVERY KIND OF BACKGROUND AND IF PEOPLE THINK ABOUT WAYS TO GET INVOLVED, COME TO OUR WEB SITE, LEARN MORE ABOUT US.

WCCNY.ORG BUT WE ARE LOOKING FOR PARTNERS.

IF THERE'S PEOPLE OUT THERE WORKING IN THE SPACE.

WE DON'T SEE US DOING IT ALONE BUT IN PARTNERSHIP.

IF PEOPLE INVEST THE SPACE AND CARE ABOUT THIS AND REALLY WANT TO HAVE IMPACT AND SEE AN IMPACT, WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT YOU AND HAVE A NEWSLETTER EVERY MONTH.

THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS TO GET INVOLVED AND WE'RE ALWAYS OPEN TO NEW IDEAS TOO.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TALKING ABOUT THIS.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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