May 18, 2022
Ms. Foundation for Women Honors Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Bozoma Saint John, Pamala Buzick Kim, Deja Foxx, Ruby Bright, and Cassandra Overton Welchlin at 2022 Women of Vision Awards: The Future is Feminist
Event included special remarks by Ms. Foundation Founding Mother Gloria Steinem and Ms. Foundation President and CEO Teresa C. Younger, as well as a spoken word performance by writer, activist, and actress Logan Green
NEW YORK – Last night, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the nation’s first and oldest women’s foundation, hosted the Women of Vision Awards: The Future is Feminist, celebrating activists, innovators, and philanthropists who ignite policy and culture change on behalf of women and their communities nationwide. This year’s event paid tribute to the remarkable achievements of those whose courage and leadership move our society toward a more inclusive world, and raised funds to advance our collective power and create safe, just, and equitable futures for women, girls, transgender, and non-binary people.
The evening honored Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Hall of Fame Marketing Executive Bozoma Saint John, Executive Director of FREE THE WORK Pamala Buzick Kim, activist and founder of GenZ Girl Gang Deja Foxx, and two leaders from grantee partner organizations – Ruby Bright, President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, and Cassandra Overton Welchlin, Executive Director and Co-Convener of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable. The event, hosted by Ms. Foundation Board Member Danielle Moodie, also featured a performance from 17-year-old writer, activist, and actress Logan Green who received a standing ovation following her spoken word poem, A Seat At The Table.
The Women of Vision Awards is the Ms. Foundation’s largest annual celebration to benefit Ms. Foundation grantee partners around the country and to recognize grassroots leaders who have made an indelible impact on the movement for gender equity at the local, state, and national level. Since 1973, the Ms. Foundation has invested over $82 million to build grassroots movements fighting for gender equity for women, particularly women of color around the country. The foundation supports more than 100 organizations throughout the country that are working for change on a grassroots level in order to build power and advance democracy.
Below, please see highlights from the night and key quotes from the evening’s speakers.
HIGHLIGHT: Gloria Steinem opened the 2022 Women of Vision Awards ceremony with a reflection on the state of the world and a call to action.
QUOTE: Gloria Steinem, Ms. Foundation Founding Mother stated, “Two weeks ago, we saw a draft of what the Supreme Court is planning for two landmark cases that established a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child. It was devastating for so many of us to read those words, even though we have been expecting them. But from the perspective of my 88 years, I am hopeful. Remember that hope is a form of planning. First, we know progress is cyclical. Second, we have way more folks who believe in equity than don’t, whether or not our government represents us. Most of all, the future will be what we want it to be, if we vote, speak, and act.”
HIGHLIGHT: President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, Teresa C. Younger, opened the evening with remarks about the collective power of coming together.
QUOTE: Teresa Younger said, “[The Ms. Foundation staff] oftentimes say to me, you know Teresa, we don’t do this just because, this is our heart work. And I know for many of us in this room and the work that we do, the idea of coming out tonight isn’t just because we need to come to a party, although that would have been nice too, but it’s because this is our heart work. To make the world a better place is our heart work. To make sure we are pushing back against the systems that have not been designed for us or by us is our heart work. To lift up and call out and say we can do better, we need to do better, and we will do better–that is our heart work. To say who is missing from this table and how do we bring them in – that is our heart work. Our heart work is about saying you don’t get to make laws that will infringe on me. That is our heart work.”
HIGHLIGHT: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Woman of Vision Award Recipient:
Congresswoman Waters joined the event virtually and was honored for her advocacy as a member of Congress and fearless commitment to democracy and equality, especially when it comes to the lives of women and girls of color.
QUOTE: Congresswoman Maxine Waters said, “We have a vision for the future, and it looks like this: the ERA has been ratified, and we have passed the Equality Act. There’s no gender pay gap, and no racial wage gap. Kamala Harris and Ketanji Brown Jackson are not firsts, but firsts of many. It’s a future where every woman’s voice is valued, and every little Black and brown girl has the same opportunities that any little white boy has. That is the mission, and we’re going to make it a reality. Just remember that activists are active. They show up at the meetings, the marches, the polls. So you keep showing up as your full self, align yourself with others who value what you value, keep your voice loud, and don’t back down. And that feminist future will be yours.”
HIGHLIGHT: Bozoma Saint John, Woman of Vision Award Recipient:
Bozoma was honored for her leadership at Fortune 500 companies such as Uber, Apple, and Netflix, and her work championing women and girls of color to be their truest selves.
QUOTE: Bozoma Saint John said, “Let’s not pretend that the world is equal. The last two years in the pandemic have disproportionately affected women in the workplace; mostly due to their responsibilities at home. And then in the office, the messages that are dictated to us are not equal either. Women have been told that if we stay quiet, and dress the “right” way and do the “right” things and check all the boxes that we’re going to be secure somehow. That if you just sit down and do the work and ignore the microaggressions and inequity, that it’s all going to work out just fine. You’ll get your promotion when it’s your time. You’ll get that raise when it’s your time. You’ll get that recognition when it’s your time. NO! WE WILL NOT WAIT. We will rest and take a break if we must for sanity, wellness, and gathering badass gumption… then strive forward.”
HIGHLIGHT: Annually, the Ms. Foundation honors grassroots leaders who have impacted the women’s movement in unparalleled ways, and this year, Ruby Bright, President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and Cassandra Overton Welchlin, Executive Director and Co-Convenor of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable were the organization’s grantee partners who each received a Woman of Vision Award.
QUOTE: Cassandra Overton Welchlin said, “What Ruby and I both know is that if you are doing social justice work in the South, there’s no way you can do it without using a racial lens. Because ultimately it is Black women who are most deeply affected by issues of justice and economic equality…Ms. is letting the world know that if you want to see long-term movement building that really bends the arc of justice, then you must invest in the South. In Black and brown women and children and families in states like mine.”
QUOTE: Ruby Bright said, “I also want to commend Ms. Foundation for the work you are doing across the country to elevate the voices of women and to make a difference in their lives.”
HIGHLIGHT: Deja Foxx, Free to Be You and Me Award Recipient:
This award honors young activists enacting change and leading the way for future generations. Deja’s advocacy work has brought attention to issues like reproductive justice and sex education, building a more inclusive and equitable future for all.
QUOTE: Deja Foxx said, “Our world is at a crisis moment. And it would be easier if we could find some squeaky clean exceptional hero type with all the answers who would come in and save the day, but that’s not what we need. What we need is a lot of imperfect people armed with the power of their unique perspective, who are experts in their lived experiences, who show up everyday right where they are. What we need is you.”
HIGHLIGHT: Pamala Buzick Kim, Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award Recipient:
This award honors trailblazing feminist leaders who amplify their voice and enact positive change by paving the way for generations to come. Pamala is Executive Director of FREE THE WORK, where she has shepherded the organization to support underrepresented creators and help kick-start their careers.
QUOTE: Pamala Buzick Kim said, “Studies note that humans are not generally a heroic species, but an individual will often become heroic when placed in certain situations. Those heroic individuals, such as those in this room – Ruby, Cassandra, Bozoma, Deja, and Congresswoman Waters – are standing on the frontlines.”
The 2022 Women of Vision Awards will have a virtual event featuring a special presentation of the awards at 8pm ET/5pm PT on May 24, 2022. More details can be found here: https://www.wov2022.org/
ASSETS: LINK TO PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT
Photo Credit: Getty for Ms. Foundation for Women
For nearly 50 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in, and strengthens the capacity of women led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.
Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis