25 Years Ago Our Foremothers Had A Vision of the Future…

December 12, 2014

Dear WWAV family,

This has been an incredible year for all of us at Women With A Vision. We have seen tremendous growth in our programming and capacity, and much of that is thanks to your support. Over the course of 2014, our small staff has worked tirelessly, both locally and nationally, to amplify the voices of our communities, ones most often ignored and marginalized.

Moreover, this year WWAV marks 25 years of grassroots work to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities. As we honor the vision and dreams of our foremothers, we would be honored if you would stand at our sides to celebrate with us.

In 1989, our foremothers came together with a mission. From various health and human services posts across the city, they knew that HIV/AIDS was devastating the African-American community, and they saw that not one of the city’s agencies had put the health and well-being of our community at the center. If our people were to have the tools to protect and promote their health, the WWAV foremothers knew it was up to them. And so they met at dusk, after long days of work, to make harm reduction and wellness packets. Into the late hours, they walked the streets of the neighborhoods they were raised in, talking with those who had at best been forgotten, and at worst had been left to die. In this intimate space, they brought people into relationships and into care. They turned neighborhood bars into underground needle exchanges; they brought hope to people who had too little.

When WWAV catapulted onto the national spotlight in 2012 after successfully striking down Louisiana’s “Crime Against Nature by Solicitation” statute, this is the history we stood on. We were able to find out that hundreds of cis and transgender women had been forcibly placed on the sex offender registry, because we were their link, their safe space, their home. We organized that campaign just like our foremothers had – by going to the people most impacted, by building community, and by fostering hope. And that campaign also taught all of us that our work post-Katrina had to focus on the laws, policies, and social conditions that hinder our community’s health and well-being, even while we continued to make space and home for those who needed it the most. Even after having our headquarters fire-bombed in an aggravated arson attack in 2012, we continued to spread our wings and embrace an intersectional agenda for human rights, harm reduction, reproductive justice, anti-violence, and anti-criminalization. We have only begun to see the fruit of this tireless work.

You have been a vital part of our work going forward. We cannot thank you enough for your time, your heart, and your dedication to elevating the organizing work of African-American women in the Deep South. We can only do this work with the grassroots support from people like you that sustains us day in and day out. Your support and commitment to this fight means the world to us at Women With a Vision.

Please continue to stand with us as we envision a world that encompasses health and human rights: a world without AIDS, a world free from the criminalization of drugs and drug users, a world affirming of LGBTQ people’s health and well-being, a world respecting women’s rights and bodily autonomy, a world without state violence or domestic violence, and a world where all of us, young and old, can grow up to realize our hopes and dreams.

As we commemorate our 25th Anniversary this month, we ask you, if you are able, to please support our work in two ways.

  • Give to our year-end holiday fundraiser! We are hoping to fundraise $10,000 by the end of 2014 to support the building of Vision House and programs for our clients. You can donate online here.
  • Join us at our 25th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser this Sunday, December 14th, 2014 from 6:00-9:00PM at Mulate’s Restaurant (201 Julia Street in New Orleans). Join us for a fun night of celebrating the work of the amazing women who founded this organization. You can buy tickets online here.

Twenty-five years ago a group of women came together with a vision of what healthcare could be like in the future for poor and marginalized families.

With you, we can achieve that vision in our lifetimes.

In struggle and love,
All of us at WWAV

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