Briefing Honors Eleanor Holmes Norton ’60, Examines Intersects of Gender and Race

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In honor of Black History Month, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has introduced the Racial Justice Summit and Congressional Briefing: Addressing the Intersects of Gender, Health, Economics, Violence and Race. U.S. Congresswoman and Antioch Alumna class of ’60, Eleanor Holmes Norton, – recipient of the NOW Award of Disctinction for Intersectional Feminism – has been invited as keyspeaker for this event.

Statement from NOW President Toni Van Pelt:

February 10, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOW co-founder the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray wrote in 1977: “If one could characterize in a single phrase the contribution of Black women to America, I think it would be ‘survival with dignity against incredible odds.” Those incredible odds, namely sexism, and racism, stubbornly persist in the daily lives of women of color. That is why today, in honor of Black History Month, NOW is gathering Congressional leaders, local and national advocacy experts and renowned authors for the Racial Justice Summit and Congressional Briefing: Addressing the Intersects of Gender, Health, Economics, Violence, and Race.

“Women of color face disparities in our economic and health care systems, carried in the form of higher maternal mortality rates, a lack of access to reproductive care and lower quality health care,” said U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), sponsor of the Summit.  “That’s why there’s no real feminism unless its inclusive of all our sisters. I am so proud to partner with this historic organization in elevating issues that marginalized communities experience.”

The goal of the Summit is to inform, educate and inspire constituents and Congressional staffers working on policy to do so using a racial justice/equity lens. The unique format incorporates how anyone from local organizers to federal officials can create movements, programs and legislation committed to intersectionality and racial inclusion. NOW is also honoring a key changemaker, U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), with the Award of Distinction for Intersectional Feminism.

“NOW is proud to honor Eleanor Holmes Norton with this well-deserved award,” said NOW President Toni Van Pelt. “From serving as the first woman chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, to her feminist activism on sex discrimination and her vast body of legislative work, Congresswoman Holmes Norton has been a champion for women and girls in Washington, D.C. and across the country for decades.”

Additional speakers include U.S. Congresswomen Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). A full list of speakers is available here.

“When we establish ourselves as activists for human and civil rights, we make a commitment to defend all individuals that experience these injustices,” said NOW Vice President Christian F. Nunes. “We cannot prioritize suffering and therefore we need to understand the intersections of race, gender, and systems of oppression.  As activists, we must commit to everyone’s liberation no matter how far we may be removed from the issue.”