Yesterday PreventConnect and CALCASA staff had the opportunity to attend the White House Summit on the United State of Women. The first-ever White House sponsored summit on gender equality was framed around five pillars including violence against women, health and wellness, economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and innovation, and educational opportunity, leadership and civic engagement. The day was hosted by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls and Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Plenary speakers included President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Throughout the day, speakers recognized the recent tragedy in Orlando and highlighted the necessity of approaching violence prevention through an intersectional lens. Linkages were continuously made between our work in the prevention of sexual violence to overall health and wellness, and economic empowerment. For example, the performer Sarah Jones poignantly stated, “Working to end income inequality and violence against women go hand-in-hand.”
Another major theme of the day centered on equity and equality. President Obama spoke about the importance of building a more just, prosperous and free world through issues such as wage equality, access to health care and reproductive rights, and women’s entrepreneurship. A lighthearted moment of the day, but still with significance, came when President Obama proclaimed, “Our country is not just all about the Benjamins, it’s about the Tubmans, too!”
The summit was an opportunity for PreventConnect and CALCASA to demonstrate leadership nationally. Our Executive Director, Sandra Henriquez, moderated the panel From Grassroots to Global: Breaking Cycles of Violence which included a discussion on the progress we have made over the last 40-years and the current opportunity for culture change. The panel featured diverse advocate voices including organizations that are working on issues related to campus sexual assault and working with children and youth.
We are excited to continue these conversations during the CALCASA Statewide Conference hosted in Sacramento next week. As Bamby Salcedo from the TransLatin@ Coalition stated, we must maintain the momentum in the movement.