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White House hosts Women’s History Month event

White House marks Women’s History Month with historic event
Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc
Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc (Photo credit: Cara Everett)

On the final days of Women’s History Month, the White House convened an impressive gathering to deliberate on the experiences of Black women in the workplace. The attendees comprised a diverse group, including White House advisors, policy experts, social justice advocates, beauty industry executives, Historic D9 Sorority members, and everyday working women. They engaged in networking and participated in a thought-provoking panel discussion hosted by Andrea O’Neal. Panel members included:

Dr. Adjoa Asmoah: Senior adviser for racial equity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a champion of the C.R.O.W.N. Act.

Liliahn Majeed: Chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at L’Oréal North America.

Maude Hunter Okrah: Founder and CEO of Black Beauty Roster.

Ashunta Sheriff: Founder of Ashunta Sheriff Beauty.

Additionally, prominent women in attendance included Catherine Power (senior adviser, White House Gender Policy Council), Katelyn Walker Mooney (Good Jobs Initiative and policy adviser to the secretary, U.S. Department of Labor), Wendy Greene (professor of law and director, The Center for Law, Policy, and Social Action at Drexel University), Andrea O’Neal (senior policy adviser, White House Domestic Policy Council), Dr. Adjoa Asmoah (senior adviser for racial equity, U.S. Department of HUD), and Feven Solomen (Office of Public Engagement).

The event commenced with Stephen Benjamin, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, welcoming all the women present. His opening remarks acknowledged the contributions of women within the White House and paid tribute to the influential women who have shaped his life. References were made to the White House’s “Promises Made, Promised Kept” initiatives, highlighting President Biden and Vice President Harris’ commitment to advancing the interests of Black Americans, particularly Black women.

Before the panel discussion, policy advisors addressed the audience, providing updates on their respective causes. Noted presentation by Katelyn Walter Mooney emphasized the Department of Labor’s Good Jobs initiative, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OCCP) initiative that fosters equal opportunity in the construction field, as an example of one field that Black women are decidedly underrepresented, urging attendees to spread the word about this new program. 

A panel moderated Andrea O’Neal welcomed the “melinated and moisturized” group, listed health initiatives that VP Kamala Harris leads the charge of, acknowledging the disparity in health care for African American women: Black maternal health crises and Medicaid coverage for postpartum extension before starting discussions about what being a Black woman in America is like. The panel members provided recommendations of what Black women need to do to better ourselves. Among the answers is educate ourselves about issues, vote and demand everyone in their sphere to vote.

The event, ending in networking and a spirit of sisterhood, served as a platform for meaningful dialogue and advocacy, recognizing the vital role Black women play in the workforce and society at large. 

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