By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
The Black community is working diligently to heal and lead. The National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW) is setting the example by providing leadership and promoting healing and growth both in women and a community as a whole.
A few weeks ago, Seattle chartered in a local chapter of the NCBW setting in motion a movement to enhance the lives of women and girls, particularly Black women and girls of color.
Through a series of events scheduled in the upcoming year, NCBW envisions the advocacy and the strengthening of the spiritual, economic, health and educational needs of girls and women.
“Our mission is to advocate on behalf of Black girls and women,” says Angela V. Harris, Chartering President for the NCBW, Inc. Greater Seattle Chapter. “As well as promote leadership development and gender equity in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment.”
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. is a national organization founded in 1981. NCBW has chartered over 75 chapters with a cumulative membership of more than 7,500 women, representing 28 states and the District of Columbia.
NCBW Seattle looks to address and alleviate the burdens and barriers Black women and girls have endured, and to help build a better, more equitable and nurturing environment for women to thrive in.
Meko Lawson, communications director for the Seattle Chapter of the NCBW, says that the organization is just what the community needs right now, and she hopes that the community will embrace the mission and work of NCBW.
“This is the perfect time for the community,” says Lawson. “Simply because Black women have really struggled around being missed and looked over.”
“As far as the Pacific Northwest, we are at such a low percentage here. Whether in Seattle or the surrounding areas, due to gentrification we have been very disconnected geographical and we are here to support our women, to support our girls and really connect as Black women,” added Lawson.
The chartering ceremony, which was held on Sun., September 12, marked the local chapter’s emergence among the city’s advocacy thought leaders. The chartering of the Greater Seattle Chapter of the NCBW also provides an even greater vehicle for women of this community to fortify their combined resources and efforts to promote and strengthen the empowerment and economic sustainability of Black women and girls.
“We are here and we are currently working on programing that will address our focus which are health, education and economic empowerment,” says Harris. “We are here to serve and to advocate for them (Black women and girls) and as we start planning events we hope that the community will support our events and attend them. Also, we are here to be a voice for them and their needs.”
The Coalition’s membership includes a diverse group of women who are physicians, attorneys, educators, journalists, accountants, municipal court judges, private entrepreneurs, university administrators, corporate managers and vice presidents, artists, media personalities, labor leaders, public relations specialists, and elected officials. This cross-section of dynamic, progressive women is reflective of the membership in each chapter of the coalition.
The chartering ceremony has set in motion the momentum ignited by the events of 2020 that has put a spotlight on the Black community’s inequities and NCBW are taking on a leadership role and the actions necessary to enhance and strengthen the plight of Black women and girls both locally and nationally.
The ceremony featured Seretha Tinsley, NCBW 1st National Vice President, as the keynote speaker. Special guest speakers included Rep. April Berg, 44th Legislative District, Vice Chair House Finance Committee & 2nd Vice Chair Members of Color Caucus; Rep. Debra Entenman, 47th legislative District; Rep. Jamila Taylor, 30th Legislative District & Chair of Black Members Caucus; City of Tacoma Mayor, Victoria Woodards and Margaret Meister, President and CEO, Symetra.
“Honor and privilege” were the words spoken by Harris during the ceremony on the responsibility these women are undertaking in order to make this planet a better and more equitable place for Black women but more importantly for young Black girls to thrive in the future.
“We are delighted to become the first NCBW chapter in Washington State and It is an honor and privilege to serve as chartering president,” says Harris. “We are ready to work and make our mark on the community.”