Women and Girls Foundation hosts happy hour after its Crossroads Convention
March 14, 2016 12:00 AM
Candi Castleberry-Singleton, left, Heather Arnet, and Latasha Wilson-Batch.
LaTisha Jones, left, Celeste Benzo and Elaine Harris-Fulton take a selfie with keynote speaker LaToya Ruby Frazier.
Blayre Holmes, left, Tara Simmons and Atiya Abdelmalik.
Ciera Young, left, Samey Jay, and Nikki Lu.
Andrea Fitting, left, Kathy Risko and Roselyn Wilkinson.
Lisa Frank, left, and Celeste Scott.
By Natalie Bencivenga / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When and where: Thursday at Sheraton Station Square Hotel.
#WgfXroads: You could feel the excitement in the air after a day of amazing speakers and inspirational stories from the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pa.’s Crossroads Conference. One of the most diverse events I’ve #SEEN in Pittsburgh, the conference drew women of all ages, races, demographics and economic backgrounds to come together in a spirit of unity. “I’m a conference snob and this is a different experience from anything else I have attended,” said Atiya Abdelmalik.
“Last year we had speakers talk about their personal crossroads, but this year we wanted to focus on community crossroads as well. We had a mother talk about her son’s addiction to heroin, a woman who converted to Islam in a post-9/11 world, a refugee speak about her experience in Bhutan. All of these stories are important because they humanize our experiences and help women to recognize that they see themselves a little bit more in each other. We want to connect, not divide,” said Heather Arnet, WGF chief strategy officer.
#TogetherWeStand: LaToya Ruby Frazier, Braddock native and award-winning photographer, was the keynote speaker. She credits her mother, grandma Ruby and one of her teachers as mentors. “It’s important to think about the law of the self-portrait, to think of ourselves as past, present and future images of who we want to be. Being from Braddock, what I saw was abandonment and neglect as a child. I was able to use photography as a way to document those feelings and be a voice for the voiceless. I created this work to honor those and make my voice count,” said Ms. Frazier, who spent 12 years documenting her hometown through portraits, landscapes and still life. “This isn’t about me,” she added. “This is about women’s rights and equality. This is about opposing environmental toxicity and health care inequity, about having the courage to speak the truth and recognizing that our silence is complacency, and that complacency kills.”
#SEEN: Board chair Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Latasha Wilson-Batch, Tara Simmons, Blayre Holmes and Austin Davis, Ciera Young, Samey Jay, Nikki Lu, Andrea Fitting, Kathy Risko, Roselyn Wilkinson, Lisa Frank and Celeste Scott.
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