Women, too sing AmericaSep 29, 2015. Written by Melanie Avery
Soaring women too can rise out of the ashes like the Phoenixes they are.
On Saturday, September 19, 2015 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was honored to host the President of the United States and First Lady Michelle Obama at the 45th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) Phoenix Awards Dinner. This year’s theme centered on civil rights and justice. Civil rights leaders who were living received awards as well as those who we honored posthumously. There were beautiful performances by talented artists and a star-studded list of dignitaries adorned the crowd.
The planning for safety of the thousands of guests in attendance was clear and present. When the POTUS went to the stage to complete the keynote he indicated that the theme of his speech that evening would be the importance of protecting, promoting, and pushing forward our women and girls. He highlighted the fact that women who are abused, or who become the victims of sexual trafficking are significantly more likely to end up spending time in the criminal justice system. He intimated that he is very carful and thoughtful in his approach to raising his own daughters and equally protective over them. His eloquent speech even highlighted the importance of women working together to move forward the agenda of civil and human rights as well as the mission of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). It was a powerful, compelling and heartening speech. I was incredibly proud to be in the room seated at good table to hear every word uttered.
The next morning, after getting up early to complete the Navy Five Miler in downtown DC, I scoured the media outlets on radio, TV, and in print to see what would be said about the president’s profound remarks. The only information I heard about this great speech focused on what amounted to about 35 seconds of the President’s remarks. The only sound bite captured was one where the President said that communities need to work with police and law enforcement, and that people need not forget that there are good officers who wear the uniform. This statement is without a doubt true. While I am not a feminist, I believe the President’s words about supporting women and girls ought not be ignored.