On July 24, 2019, the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island was proud to sign a joint statement by hundreds of sister funds condemning the recent attacks on four of our country’s elected officials who are women of color, in response to chants of “Send them back!” The statement reads: ” Women’s and Girls’ grantmakers, organizations and supporters across the country stand together in condemning the recent vitriol shown towards our country’s female elected officials, and in particular, female elected officials of color.”
To these attackers and their defenders, we say this: ‘You do not represent the shared values that move our country forward. These values recognize and embrace leadership from all walks of life, recognizing the strength of diversity. For more than 100 years, American women have fought to gain our rightful place in our government institutions. We will not back down. You cannot erase our presence, nor keep us from taking our place as leaders of this great democracy. As you continue to judge and demean people by gender, country of origin, and skin color, we will take the high road. We will judge people by character and by actions alone. We will never stop speaking out against the words and actions of those driven by sexism, racism, and xenophobia.‘
The Women’s Funding Network, its members and partners are steadfast in their support of women of ALL backgrounds who serve and aspire to serve our country in an elected capacity.
We support the active participation in our democracy by those who were not born here, but who have worked hard to become citizens and have pledged their loyalty to our country. America has always been a country of immigrants. We do not turn our backs on these citizens, and we will not stand to let the actions of a few diminish the valuable contributions they have made to our society.
Your words were intended to divide. They did not. Together we stand, more united than ever.
This past Saturday, WFRI joined with the Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts and VoteRunLead to provide training to 60 women considering a run for political office. Participants practiced campaign “stump” speeches on the changes they wanted to make in their communities. When WFRI last ran this program in 2017, 18% of the participants ran for office and of those who ran, 60% won their seats.
The 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution became law on August 26, 1920, giving women the right to vote. This date is now recognized nationwide as Women’s Equality Day. In preparation for the 100th Anniversary of this landmark decision, several organizations and volunteers are banding together to increase voter registration and the number of people voting in 2020.
WFRI will be hosting a training for volunteers on Aug. 26 from 3:00-4:30 pm in the State House Library on the RI voter registration process. Afterward, participants will gather on the State House steps for a picture and a commemorative “Toast to Tenacity” in tribute to the suffragists who fought for American women’s right to vote and in recognition that true gender equity for all has not yet been achieved. GCRI members are invited to attend the Toast without having to go to the training.
Both programs are sponsored by the Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. Co-hosts include Vision2020, Planned Parenthood Votes! RI, RI NOW, The Woman Project, RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, RIDP Women’s Caucus, RI Democratic Women for Leadership and the RI Federation of Republican Women.