Fighting Poverty with Passion
January was a busy month at WWAV as we kicked off our new year after the holiday break. We hosted a few fundraising events including a Happy Hour Pay It Forward event at the Eiffel Society where a percentage of funds from drinks were donated to WWAV. In addition, the Krewe of Muses named us as the organization they are fundraising for this carnival season. One of the ways they are fundraising for us is through a partnership with NOLA Brewing which released MUSES, its new seasonal Mardi Gras brew. Sales from the brew and all MUSES fundraisers for 2015 will benefit Women With A Vision. We were also honored with a proclamation from the New Orleans City Council. District “A” Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “Over the last 25 years, Women With A Vision has provided tremendous support and assistance to our city’s most vulnerable communities of women through their ongoing service and advocacy. This Council applauds their efforts to fight for policy reform to further protect these women.”
In addition, Women With A Vision was excited to welcome four new interns from Xavier University in New Orleans. Our interns come to us from Professor Brian Turner’s senior level psychology course and will be with us for their final semesters in college. Each intern has been matched with a specific program based on their interests and skills levels (they’ve been matched with programs like our EMERGE Diversion program, the Gender Based Violence program, and the Louisiana Re-Entry Initiative program and one will be doing general office support).
In early February, myself and the program coordinator for Girls With A Pearl, Wendi Cooper, attended The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change Conference in Denver, Colorado. Creating Change is the largest convening of LGBT organizers, activists and workers in the US. I attended on behalf of WWAV to try to get resources and information about starting a program for LGBT young women, Young Women With A Vision, at the organization. Currently, WWAV offers workshops and programs after school and at some youth centered organization, but we are currently applying for grants to fully fund the Young Women With A Vision program to become an independent WWAV program this year.
While all of these exciting things are happening at WWAV, WWAV and the New Orleans LGBTQ community mourn the loss of another Transwoman of color who was murdered this year, this time in New Orleans. Since the start of 2015, 5 Transwomen of color have been killed across the nation to little or no media attention. Penny Proud, the young woman killed in New Orleans was affiliated with one of our partner groups BreakOUT!, which is an organization that seeks to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans.