Throughout the month of March, NBCBLK, NBCLatino, and NBC Asian America have partnered with the Ms. Foundation for Women for #31Days of Feminism to spotlight women of color who, through their actions and words, lead the way toward a more equal world.
Cassandra Overton-Welchlin, Child Care Matters Director for the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative
A licensed social worker, Cassandra works with organizations to develop strategies and create opportunities to address the social, political, economic and ecological injustices in low-wealth communities of color.
What do you love the most about the work you do?
I get to make the women who invested in me proud by making my life count in the many communities in which God has planted me. I'm striving to pass on the legacy of service, justice and love that was passed on to me, to my three little children, my nieces and nephews. My seeds, gifts and talents will not fall by the waste side. I have the unique opportunity to give my life away.
What is feminism to you?
Participating in the conscious acts of the liberation of ordinary women, to make collective demands at the policy table and at the ballot box.
Can you pinpoint the moment when you decided to become a feminist? If you don't consider yourself a feminist, why not?
As I reflect, it was in elementary school. I just didn't have a name for it until well into college. I was raised by women: my mom, granny and aunts. It was this sort of collective parenting where I became a witness to their joys, struggles, faith, righteousness, truths, lies and abuses. As a result, the building blocks for my passion, purpose, sense of place, love of people and love of justice laid a solid foundation to birth me into my calling.
What is the best way we can all be "feminists"?
God loves justice. Do it, practice it daily. Participate in it, so women and girls have equity, access and can live and stand in our power being productive and happy citizens. If anyone forgot, here's a reminder: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men" and Women "are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." — Declaration of Independence
Who are your "sheroes"?
Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Eva Thompson (grandma), Mary Overton (mom), Gladys Brocks (grandma), Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer
Favorite feminist anthem?
I don't have one
Favorite feminist artist? (authors, singers, dancers, actors)
Margaret Walker Alexander, Anita Hill, Zora Neale Hurston, India Arie, Debbie Allen, Cicely Tyson, Angela Bassett, Lauren Hill...
Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative is a grantee of the Ms. Foundation for Women. The Ms. Foundation has also invested in the women's economic agenda in Mississippi through MLICCI.