Nola4Women And The Greater New Orleans Foundation Announce Hear Our Voices Discussion


NEW ORLEANS — Nola4Women and the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) are turning the spotlight on women and children in New Orleans and their need for equal access to health, education and personal and economic security. The second of a three-part series of conferences will be held Monday, April 23 and confronts the impact of poverty and trauma in the critical years adolescence and young adulthood.

“As New Orleans celebrates its 300 birthday, we believe it’s just as important to shape the future of city’s women and girls as it is to celebrate the past,” said Florence André, spokesperson for Nola4Women.

The Hear Our Voices day-long conference will be held at the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy at 919 St. Charles Avenue and is designed to stimulate conversation on the importance of securing a healthy future for the city’s girls and young women. A wide variety of influential speakers and experts have been recruited to participate in and contribute to the conversation, offering unique and important points-of-view to the session. Greater New Orleans Foundation Vice President of Programs Carmen James added, “Our mission is to create a vibrant, sustainable, and just region for all. We must examine the critical issues that threaten the well-being of women and girls in our community and seek solutions we all can share. Hear Our Voices is an excellent platform to raise these issues and begin crafting a shared agenda.” 

The first Hear Our Voices conference last month addressed the pre-natal and early childhood years and the final conference on Thursday, June 14 will look at the adult years.

Social justice scholar Monique Morris, author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools will open the conference with a discussion of the impact of poverty and trauma on young girls. Morris explains that, "The criminalization of Black girls and women can only be understood fully by looking at the impact of historical trauma."

Betsy Fischer Martin, former executive producer of Meet the Press, will moderate an important community exchange led by Dr. Denese Shervington of the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies and Deon Haywood of Women with a Vision examining ways that their organizations are working with girls and their schools, families and communities to overcome the challenges cited by Dr. Morris. 

Following lunch, Kristie Bardell of the Louisiana Public Health Institute will lead a conversation focusing on ways that local organizations are responding to the issues faced by young women that have been identified through Nola4Women’s community conversations held over the past two years. Discussion panelists will include Lauren Perry of The Beautiful Foundation, Flor Serna of Electric Girls, Rashida Govan of Project Butterfly New Orleans and Cate Swinburn of YouthForce Nola.

The day’s session will close with a community consensus discussion facilitated by Petrice Sams-Abiodun of Planned Parenthood and Linda Usdin of Now, Love.

The public is invited to attend and is expected to include participants across racial, class and generational lines to include grassroots organizers, educators, public and private sector leaders and philanthropists. The Hear Our Voices: Making Change for Women and Girls in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years conference will be held at the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy, 919 St. Charles Avenue from 9.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. There is no charge to participate, but seating is limited. Register by April 19. Lunch will be served.

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