History was made yesterday, October 25, 2015.
While very much so historic, I’m not referring to the Million Woman March, which gathered thousands to rally for women and girls of African descent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 25, 1997. I’m discussing the first-ever all-digital, super inclusive and highly accessible Women’s Freedom Conference, founded by activist and author Feminista Jones.
Eighteen years after MWM, Jones and team created a space for women of color to celebrate and champion us. The voice of women of color is often left out of mainstream feminism and important discourse, so Jones countered that with a space that was designed for us, by us.
So, you didn’t see the typical conference formula: an all white, mostly male, cisgender exclusive landscape. Intersectionality was embraced and discussed throughout the primarily free inaugural conference.
“I realized women of color don’t really get the space to have their issues, their ideas, their concerns, their work, their talents, their success and their achievements all centered with the focus primarily on them,” said Jones in her welcome address. “I wanted to change that.”
The full day of programming, 12 non-stop hours of scheduled content, was streamed online. Presentations tackled a variety of topics, including #BlackLivesMatter, diversity in technology and mental health, to name just a few discussions. Women from five different continents shared their work via the WFC platform. Speakers included Christina Morillo, and experienced IT professional and co-founder of #WOCinTech Chat; Dior Vargas, Latina feminist and mental health advocate; writer and experienced digital strategist Jamila Aisha Brown; and Awuor Onyango, writer, artist and filmmaker.
I’m still sorting through the gems on Twitter (via #WFC2015) and listening to the powerful talks as I type this.
It’s always beautiful to see someone’s passion project or dream come to life. Thank you Feminista Jones for creating this necessary space!