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Powering Forward: Shaping the Future for Women & Families

Powering Forward event graphic

In this historical moment, women continue to power us forward into a world of gender and racial justice. After a critical 2020 election, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) and The Aspen Forum on Women and Girls partnered for a post-election discussion with local and national voices on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

In a divisive election climate, this Road to Transformation event built virtual community space for critical analysis to encourage collective power and hope in the ongoing movement for gender and racial equity. Moderated by Gloria Riviera of ABC News, the esteemed panel included Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, the highest-ranking Native women holding non-tribal executive office; Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center and co-founder of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund; and C. Nicole Mason, CEO and President, Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

These brilliant local and national political leaders discussed how the election’s most pressing issues impact women, girls, and families, and the opportunities they see as our nation moves forward. The conversation explored how the country showed up during local, state, and national elections and discussed how we chart a path forward for women and families centered in gender and racial justice.

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, our enthusiastic co-chair of the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, noted that women have been leading since time immemorial. She challenged leaders to continue building, organizing, and to hold the door to leadership open for the next generation.

In the conversation, C. Nicole Mason challenged leaders and advocates to think about bold policies and bold programs to help the most impacted, particularly women of color and lower wage workers.

Recognizing that the presidential election signals a rejection of out-loud on-purpose racism and sexism and the undermining of institutions, Fatima Goss Graves celebrated the leadership of organizers around the country led largely by Black and Latinx women.

With gender and racial justice at the core of our way forward, we celebrate the newly elected leaders positioned to represent their communities, We celebrate the many firsts for women across the country, including here in Minnesota. We hold joy and hope in the power of representative leadership. As record numbers of Black, Indigenous, and women of color organized and ran for office at every level – and won, we pay respect to their legacy in organizing and leading movements at the forefront of change – in every generation.

Kamala Harris, the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first woman of Indian heritage to be elected Vice President, reflecting on her mother and the shoulders upon which this achievement stands, recently said: “I am thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women — who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight — women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all.”

We all must be thoughtful of this powerful legacy in this moment and use it to catalyze our Road to Transformation as we build a future where all women, girls, and their families live with safety and prosperity.

Lt. Governor Flanagan celebrated that our power as women is evolving—we’re at the table and we can lift each other up to amplify the voices and concerns of women and girls.

As we reckon with a country that is deeply divided, we are prepared to continue working with communities across the state to create a world where all women and girls thrive.

Since the onset of the pandemic and the global movements for racial justice, WFMN’s Road to Transformation, formerly Road to Equality, was adapted and launched to listen, amplify, and invest in the voices and experiences of statewide communities pushed to the margins. Follow the journey with other events to inspire activation and forthcoming Listening Sessions with women and girls across the state.

See the full conversation:

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