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WBWPC Elects New President, Jewel Williams – Swearing-In of New Officers Held on Thursday, April 6, 2017

The membership of the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc. held elections on March 25, 2017 and elected new executive committee officers….

  • Jewel F. Williams, President
  • Subomi Macaulay, First Vice President
  • Phyllis Shelton, Second Vice President
  • Chrystalia King, Treasurer
  • Keturah Hadley, Recording Secretary
  • Jean Anderson, Corresponding Secretary
  • Nora Boggs*, Financial Secretary

The new officers were officially inducted at a wonderful swearing-in ceremony attended by over 50 members and guests on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 7:30 PM at the Theodore D. Young Community Center in Greenburgh/White Plains, NY hosted by the Caucus Election Committee, chaired by Sandra Blackwood.

Jewel Williams

Jewel Williams offered the following remarks at the swearing-in ceremony as the Caucus enters a new, more progressive phase at this pivotal time….

I stand here this evening humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust our members have bestowed, and mindful of the legacy of our founders.

I thank the outgoing officers for their service and am grateful for their cooperation through this transition.

Fourteen Caucus members have now taken this oath for president and as I am the only one to do so for a third time, I do not take it lightly. The oath has been spoken during tides of success and progressiveness and also during ripples of apathy. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds. At these moments, the Caucus has carried on, not simply because of the skill or vision of those in office, but because the members have remained faithful to the ideals of our mission, and true to our founders’ vision.

It has been this way throughout the forty plus year history of the organization and it will continue to be during and beyond our tenure.

As with many political organizations, ours is in the midst of a re-boot. Our country, our state and our county is in flux… fueling involvement and activism’s rise…

  • There are networks of far-reaching media efforts to incite division and hatred.
  • Our wonderful immediate past president Obama is constantly misrepresented, a consequence of racism against him and irresponsibility on the part of many.
  • The balance of our Supreme Court was snuffed out last year by negligent Senate leaders
  • Health care is too costly, yet the Affordable Care Act is in jeopardy as are our community clinics and Planned Parenthood.
  • Our schools fail too many
  • A history of abuse and the inhumane treatment of people of color, especially our men, while in police custody is in the spotlight
  • Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy swells the pockets of the wealthy while threatening our planet and our very existence.
  • On March 27th, a week before Equal Pay Day (Tues., April 4, 2017), with the swoop of Trump’s pen, one of his executive orders revoked years of workplace protections for women and minorities  He revoked President Obama’s 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order which required companies with federal contracts to heed 14 different labor and civil rights laws, including ones aimed at protecting parental leave, weeding out discrimination against women and minorities, and ensuring equal pay for women and fair processes surrounding workplace sexual harassment allegations
  • Both our state and county legislatures hold political turncoats who impede progress and disregard the very constituency who elected them.
  • NYS has the highest out-migration rate and we live in the county with the highest tax rate in the nation
  • Infrastructure is constantly referred to as being in need of much improvement, yet people of color do not land jobs on major projects
  • The NYS legislature cannot agree on a free college tuition bill and have yet to approve public school funding
  • Our state elected officials are debating on whether to not charge a 16-year old child as an adult
  • Funding for an ice-skating rink can take priority over funding for non-profit organizations that provide much needed services
  • The right of women to control their own bodies is somehow always up for discussion!

These are indicators of a crisis for our people.

The challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, the Caucus’ mission will be fulfilled many times over.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over indifference, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.  Tonight we reaffirm our enduring spirit; to honor our history; to carry forward and lend our precious gifts in pursuing our noble ideas of securing elected positions for women of color, advocating for socio-economic issues and solutions and of affecting meaningful change.

In reaffirming our greatness as an organization, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.  Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated, but more often women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards progress.

They walked their communities carrying petitions, they manned phone banks, they held late night strategy sessions, they mentored and they trained and they spoke out when others could not find their voice.  Time and again these women struggled and sacrificed and worked in the name of progress and access.

They saw their roles as larger than the sum of our individual ambitions; they saw our seat at the table as greater than all our differences and they saw leadership as essential to a better life in our communities.  This is the journey we reaffirm today.

Everywhere we look, there is work to be done and there are some who will question the scale of our ambitions – but we will remind them what women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

It’s wonderful to see representation of some of our like-minded non-profit & advocacy organizations in the room because we plan to network, to collaborate and build upon our relationships.

In the words of President Obama, “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.”  He also stated, “that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause and the force of our example.”

We the women of the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc. are the keepers of this legacy and guided by these principles we will meet our mission with greater effort and even greater cooperation and understanding.  This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that we are rooted in a strong and unyielding destiny.  A path set forth by those named… Alice Scott, Joan Mosley, Benilda Armstead-Jones, Delores Braithwaite, Lois Bronz, Willa Good, Ethel Harmon, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Joan Horton, Gwendolyn Lynch, May Morgan Robinson, Valerie Sommersille and Sioux Taylor and many, many other like-minded women who shared this vision of empowerment of Black women politically and economically.

As we forge ahead let us brave those rough tides of progression and just skip over momentary ripples of apathy…. We will endure what storms may come. Let it be said by future Caucus members that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried on with determination and we delivered.

In the words of one of our founders, the late Alice C. Scott, “If we change our way of thinking, work together, show that we mean business, things will change politically. But the onus is on us.”

Thank you and God bless you!

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