Habitat for Humanity Dutchess County celebrates Women who advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for National Women’s History Month
The National Women’s History Month’s theme for 2024 celebrates “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” This year’s theme recognizes women throughout the country who understand that, for a positive future, we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions. Women from every background have long realized that an uneven playing field will never bring equality or justice. Many feel the critical need to speak up and work harder for fairness in our institutions and social interactions.
During 2024, we recognize the example of women who are committed to embracing everyone and excluding no one in our common quest for freedom and opportunity. People change with the help of families, teachers and friends, and young people in particular need, to learn the value of hearing from different voices with different points. Today, equity, diversity and inclusion are powerful driving forces that are having a wide-ranging impact on our country. As members of families, civic and community groups, businesses and legislative bodies, women are in the forefront of reevaluating the status quo. They are looking anew at what harmful social policies and behaviors exist and, often subtly, determine our future. In response, women in communities across the nation are helping to develop innovative programs and projects within corporations, the military, federal agencies, and educational organizations to address these injustices.
Honoring Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York on November 30, 1924. Shirley attended Brooklyn College for a degree in sociology, where she won prizes in debating but found she was barred from the social club, as all Blacks were, so she organized a rival club. After graduating in 1946, she became an authority on early education and child welfare, and an was educational consultant for Brooklyn’s Bureau of Child Welfare.
In 1949, Shirley became increasingly involved in New York municipal political issues, establishing several local organizations to bring Blacks and Hispanics into politics. After obtaining a master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University she became involved in grassroots community organizing and the Democratic Party, helping form the Unity Democratic Club in 1960. Her community base experience helped make possible for a win when she ran for the New York State Assembly in 1964. In 1968, Shirley Chisholm ran for Congress from Brooklyn the first Black woman elected to Congress, served for seven terms, and helped form the National Political Congress of Black Women (NPCBW)
Chisholm hired only women for her staff and was known for taking positions against the Vietnam War, for minority and women’s issues, and for challenging the Congressional seniority system. She was a founding member of the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Chisholm ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972. She was the first Black person and the first Black woman to run for president on a major party ticket and was the first woman to win delegates for a presidential nomination by a major party. She was involved in the founding or administration or strong support of numerous organizations, including the National Organization of Women, the League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), and the National Women’s Political Caucus. She said in 2004, “I want history to remember me not just as the first Black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first Black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a Black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.”