The African American Women Lead (AfAmWomenLead) Initiative was established by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans as a unique opportunity to harness the collective impact of the nation’s largest women civic organizations. AfAmWomenLead partners have committed to meet a monumental goal — one million hours of service with Black women and girls across the nation in 2016. AfAmWomenLead provides a platform for organizations, institutions, individuals, and other partners interested in engaging and supporting the development of Black women and girls.
To celebrate the important roles women and girls play in history, AfAmWomenLead choose March—Women’s History Month—for a national day of service surrounding cultural experiences and exploration by participating in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live!
The Smithsonian, a key AfAmWomenLead partner, presented a special edition of its magazine’s Museum Day Live! To, “inspire women and girls of color in underserved communities.” Museum Day Live! extends participating cultural centers zoos, aquariums, and museums across the country to offer free, ticketed admission. Museum Day Live! had an incredible impact and included more than 520 partnering museums nationwide in every state and the District of Columbia.
On March 12, AfAmWomenLead participating organizations nationwide engaged in a day of service, accompanying young women and girls to participating institutions to celebrate the humanities. President’s Advisory Commissioner on Educational Excellence for African Americans and AfAmWomenLead Working Group co-chair TyKiah Wright coordinated community organizations, Columbus Museum of the Arts, and Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) to partner, bringing more than 250 women and girls of color for a day of exploration, dance and vocal performances, and educational opportunities. To empower and honor the experiences of women and girls of color a student-led panel posed a question for young women and girls to answer: “When did I realize I was talented?”
In D.C., the Initiative, along with teams from other U.S. Department of Education White House Initiatives, interacted with more than 150 young women at the Smithsonian Castle during its Ladies’ Lightning Leadership Talks, Teen Opportunities Fair, and meet and greet. During this time, attendees ranging from elementary- to college-aged women and girls, learned about internship and career opportunities, while engaging, and—in many instances—committing to support the goals of AfAmWomenLead.
In addition to supporting opportunities to honor and experience the humanities, AfAmWomenLead works to support the creation and sustaining of safe and supportive pre-Kindergarten through college completion learning environments and support systems, and advancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) access and equity.
Through impactful partnerships like Museum Day Live!, AfAmWomenLead has identified additional opportunities to support our partners’ community service commitments, and welcome additional individuals, organizations and institutions to join this exciting campaign of service.
AfAmWomenLead partner YWCA USA has themed its signature campaign, Stand Against Racism, as On A Mission for Girls of Color. Partnering organizations nationwide will address the impact of institutional and structural racism in April.
Also in April, AfAmWomenLead partners will join schools and other organizations to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, through its Better Make Room Campaign’s College Signing Days. Organization hosts will celebrate the higher education commitments, educational excellence and college completion of students in their communities.
We invite you to get involved with AfAmWomenLead and make a commitment of service to Black women and girls here.
Venicia Gray is a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Fellow with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.