"Dear Marline, You are one of the nominees chosen to attend The United State of Women Summit on June 14th here in Washington D.C." That is exactly how it all started. I was sitting in my office when I received the email and started SCREAMING with excitement. To be 1 in 5000 women nominated and personally invited to attend the inaugural of The United State of Women summit was something I never imagined would happen. In addition, I felt super grateful that I was able to experience this with my two best friends. I am still trying to process all that took place on June 14th, but I wanted to give a recap of my experience.
The Summit covered the following pillars:
Violence Against Women
Health and Wellness
Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Civic Engagement & Leadership
After getting through security and registration, we proceeded to our seats and then we got moved to a sponsored table (FAVOR!!!!). How exciting is it to be able to sit at a table about 300 feet from the stage.
Aside from President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle, Momma Oprah, Joe Biden and Warren Buffet, I had a few people I was looking forward to hearing speak. One person I admire over the last year was VALERIE JARRETT. She is the Senior Advisor to the President and Chair for the White House Council on Women and Girls. (I legit have a copy of the report that I review on a weekly basis). Many of you may be familiar with her gracing Essence Magazine with other phenomenal African-American women who work in the White House.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Joe Biden and Meghan Yap, a survivor of college sexual assault started the discussion to cover Violence Against Women. Joe Biden spoke with such passion about violence against women.
One fact everyone should know is that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted on a college campus.
"We can break her out of isolation, we can validate her story and give her justice. We can make sure she knows that it's not her fault" - Joe Biden
Following Joe Biden was Mariska Hargitay( Lt. Olivia) from Law and Order:SVU. She spoke on the backlog of rape kits sitting on the shells of many police stations.
Break Out Session on Tools to Empowering Girls
I walked into my break out session and the remarks were being addressed by Beverly Bond, founder of Black Girls Rock.
The moderator was held by Dr. Monique Morris (Author of Pushout). Some of the panelists included President of Girls Inc., President of National Crittenton Foundation and a former foster care teen girl.
One of the takeaway moments were how many girls received corrective actions in school for misbehaving and/or diagnosis of Conduct Disorder, but the underlying issue of trauma was never addressed.
Clearly, I can talk about issues regarding adolescent girls and trauma all day long, but I don't want to bore you. So, check out the pictures of all of the DOPE women I met at the summit.
Nicole "ScOprah" Walters aka NapturalNicole aka RICHFRIENDS aka Monethize Thy Self. She was even more DOPE in person.
Marley Dias, founder of #1000BlackGirlsBook. Marley created her campaign because she wanted to see more books with girls of color as the main character. Learn more about her mission on Grassroots Community Foundation.
Asha Boston, Founder of The Dinner Table Documentary. Their mission is to redefine reality tv's standard of women of color sitting at a dinner table and supporting each other.
Elaine Welteroth, Editor-in Chief of Teen Vogue
She is the 2nd African-American woman to hold this position with Teen Vogue in the 100+ years of the magazine's existence.
Soraya Denis, Founder of Dlo Pou Viv and Women Who Inspire Women. Dlo Pou Viv is a 501c3 organization that provides clean water in Haiti. I connected with Soraya on social media last year and our sisterhood has grown since then through various texts and phone chats.
Akissi, Founder of Ambitious Girls Inc in Arkansas. Ambitious Girls Inc is a non-profit mentoring and leading girls to "Be Smart! Be Safe! Be Responsible!" and G.R.O.W. "Get Ready to lead Our World through service. I connected with Akissi years ago on social media and it's refreshing whenever we can chat about our mission to help young girls.
To be with my two best friends of 30 years in the same room made me realized how truly blessed I was. Not only to attend this event, but to know that my best friends were women of great substance who were also CHANGEMAKERS! Dr. Chery, a resident physician and Sami, a business analyst. These two women continuously push me to the next level, but correct me when I am in the wrong. They are the epitome of genuine, authentic, unfiltered SISTERHOOD. Big thanks to Fumi, a DC attorney for hooking us up with the sponsored table :)
Last, but not least. The moment I was waiting for! Michelle Obama and Oprah!!!!!!! I started recording their discussion (like I did for Obama), but then I wanted to soak in the experience with no interruptions. I sat there amazed that I was in the same room with two of America's most influential women. Talk about #BlackGirlMagic moment! You can catch their discussion circulating the internet (Google It).