Throughout the month of March, the Ms. Foundation for Women will partner with NBCBLK, NBCLatino, and NBC Asian America to spotlight women of color who, through their actions and words, lead the way toward a more equal world. This multimedia digital campaign will feature the voices and stories of 31 women of diverse identities, races, ethnicities, cultures, and ages.
Conversations about women too often obscure the differences between women and the richness and complexity of women’s lives. This Women’s History Month, we aim to lift up all women’s histories and shine a light on those that are not normally told.
The women of color featured are not just living women’s history — they are making history in their communities. Their work as activists, artists, writers, organizers, entrepreneurs, and athletes is changing lives and will have positive ripple effects for women for generations to come.
While this is an opportunity to honor women trailblazers, it is not only a celebration. It is also a call to action. We encourage everyone to join the conversation using the hashtag #31Days. Share what it means to you to be a feminist and why it is critical to lift up the voices of all women. Tell us about women of color doing amazing work in your community.
Teresa C. Younger has served as the President of the Ms. Foundation since She most recently served as the executive director of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), where she has spearheaded successful campaigns for women’s health, safety and economic empowerment.
Ai-jen Poo is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and a 2014 MacArthur fellow. She has been named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people for her work in organizing immigrant women workers nearly two decades ago. She has been a vocal advocate for the rights of domestic workers, and spearheaded the successful passage of New York’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010.
Adrianna Quintero is the Director of Partner Engagement for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Executive Director of Voces Verdes. She currently runs NRDC’s partner outreach and engagement efforts. Adrianna founded and leads Voces, a national coalition of Latino business, health, community leaders and organizations representing millions of Latinos, joined together to advocate for action on climate change and the development of our country’s renewable, clean energy sources.
Charon Asetoyer (Comanche) is the Executive Director and Founder of the Native American Community Board and the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. The Resource Center addresses issues of reproductive justice, violence against women, and environmental justice and is a shelter for battered women. She just released the The Indigenous Women’s Health Book – Within the Sacred Circle, the first Indigenous women’s reproductive health book.
Mynette Louie is the president of Gamechanger Films, a company that invests in women-directed narrative features. Louie is a filmmaker whose work has been screened at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and various international film festivals. She is also an adviser to the Sundance Institute, SXSW, Independent Filmmaker Project, and A3 Asian American Artists Foundation.
Rebecca Saldaña is the Executive Director of Puget Sound Sage. She builds affordable housing, clean and healthy environment, and strong communities for families. Previously, she led Sage’s equitable development and community benefits program and organized the South Communities for Racial/Regional Equity. Before joining Sage, Rebecca served as the Community Liaison for Congressman Jim McDermott.
Cassandra Overton-Welchlin is the Child Care Matters Director for the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative and Director of the Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative. A licensed social worker, she works with organizations to develop strategies and create opportunities to address the social, political, economic and ecological injustices in low wealth communities of color.
Tanzila Ahmed is an activist and writer, and currently serves as the campaign strategist at 18 Million Rising. She is the co-founder and co-host of “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim,” a podcast that examines the American Muslim female experience.
Tannia Esperanza is the Executive Director at Young Women United (YWU), where she makes sure organizing, policy, and culture shift strategies continue to uplift all people in making real decisions about their bodies and lives. She is a Queer Xicana from Santa Barbara, CA who has been active in social justice movements working on racial justice, immigrant rights, gender justice, and LGBTQ liberation.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a trans woman activist and community leader for transgender rights, with a particular focus on women of color. She serves as the Executive Director for the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, which aims to assist transgender persons who are considered to be disproportionately incarcerated under a prison-industrial complex. Griffin-Gracy has participated in a wide range of causes throughout her lifetime, including the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.
Tracy Chou is a software engineer at Pinterest whose work has brought attention to the need for more representation of women in tech. She has also been part of the movement to pressure larger tech companies – such as Facebook and Google – to release diversity reports.
Angeline Echeverría is the Executive Director for El Pueblo, an organization for Latinos to achieve social change and community action. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, she moved on to bring her commitment to social justice to non-profit organizations in Arkansas, Costa Rica, Alabama, and New York. Prior to joining El Pueblo, she spent four years at La Fuente, an organization dedicated to empowering immigrants and workers in New York City and Long Island.
Cherisse Scott is Founder & CEO of SisterReach, a grassroots organization in Memphis, Tennessee, focused on empowering, educating, organizing and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health.
Jenny Yang is a comedian and writer, and co-founder of Dis/orient/ed Comedy, a nationally-touring comedy showcase of Asian-American women. Yang is also known for her appearances in viral BuzzFeed videos about the Asian-American experience.
Cristina Aguilar is Executive Director for Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Colorado’s only reproductive justice organization. Previously, she worked in early childhood education at Community Development Institute, directing national Head Start Pilot Innovation Projects that included supporting language and culture retention for immigrant, migrant and refugee children and families.
Roxane Gay is an award-winning and prolific author and essayist, most recently publishing the essay collection "Bad Feminist" (2014). She is the author of the short story collection "Ayiti" (2011), the novel "An Untamed State" (2014), and "Hunger" (forthcoming 2016). In addition to her regular contributions to Salon, her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Nation and The New York Times Book Review.
Shiza Shahid is the co-founder of the Malala Fund who served as founding CEO. She is outspoken in the areas of women’s rights and education, and is a vocal supporter of startups and entrepreneurs that are creating positive global impact.
Andrea Serrano is Deputy Director of OLÉ, a non-profit that organizes and strengthens working families in New Mexico. Her experience includes Community Educator at the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico; program coordinator at South Valley Academy as well as extensive involvement in community organizing and activism with various community organizations. Andrea was a panelist at the Tucson Festival of Books in 2013.
Anika Campbell is the Executive Director of the Center for Frontline Retail (CFR), where she guides the strategic ‘services to organizing’ vision. With over ten years of experience in workforce development, program management, organizing and employment in the retail industry, Anika fights against unfair scheduling practices, low wages and racial and gender discrimination
Jenn Fang is the founder of the blog Reappropriate, one of the web’s oldest and most popular blogs dedicated to Asian-American feminism, pop culture, and politics.
Marissa Nuncio joined the Garment Worker Center as Director in February 2013. She has been an advocate of worker’s rights for over 15 years, including as a Program Coordinator for Sweatshop Watch. She earned a Loyola Law School Post–Graduate Fellowship to work as a staff attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in 2006. In 2008, she joined Bush Gottlieb Singer López Kohanski Adelstein & Dickinson as an associate.
Winona LaDuke is an American activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer, known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation, as well as sustainable development. She is the Executive Director of both White Earth Land Recovery Project and Honor the Earth. In 1996 and 2000, she ran for vice president as the nominee of the Green Party of the United States, on a ticket headed by Ralph Nader.
Kristina Wong is a comedian known for her solo theater performances. Her nationally-toured show “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” dived into the issue of depression and suicide among Asian-American women, and she is currently on tour with her solo show “The Wong Street Journal.”
Isa Noyola is Director of Programs at the Transgender Law Center. She was born in Houston, Texas and comes from culturally rich indigenous roots from Comitán, Chiapas and San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Isa identifies as a translatina, gender fluid, activist, two-spirit, queer, jota, pastor’s kid, muxerista, and cultural organizer. Isa is passionate about abolishing oppressive systems that criminalize trans & queer immigrant communities of color.
Tracee Ellis Ross is an actor, model, comedian, producer and television host. In 2014, Ross began starring as Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the ABC comedy series "Black-ish."
Mari Matsuda is a writer, artist, and law professor at the University of Hawai’i. She became the first tenured Asian-American law professor in the United States in 1988, and she has also taught at UCLA and Georgetown. Her writings on reparations, hate speech, accent discrimination, and affirmative action are considered legal classics, widely cited by scholars, judges, and activists. She is a founding writer in the Critical Race Theory and Intersectional Feminism movements, and she pioneered the teaching of organizing for social change in law schools.
Elisa A. Charters is the Vice Chair of the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority. She is also the founder of two non-profit organizations called Surge the Brown OutandLatina Surge, which educate and advocate for diversity and inclusion on executive boards in government and private companies, respectively. She has won several awards for her community service and activism.
Mary Ignatius is the Statewide Organizer of Parent Voices, a parent-led grassroots organization fighting to make quality child care accessible and affordable for all families. Under her tenure, Parent Voices has won campaigns to update income eligibility guidelines to qualify for subsidized child care, restore a child care program that was eliminated, and protected child care subsidies for thousands of families.
Miriam Yeung is the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. She has been recognized for her work by the Ms. Foundation, the National Council for Research on Women, and has also received a special recognition from the New York City Council for her work with the LGBT youth community.
Ada Limón is the author of four books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, a finalist of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, and one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year by The New York Times. Her other books include Lucky Wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency M.F.A program, and the 24Pearl Street online program for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer splitting her time between Lexington, Kentucky and Sonoma, California.
Animatou Sou is a digital strategist, leading all Politics and Social Impact Marketing for Google’s Brand team. She is co-founder of the Tech LadyMafia, a support network for women in tech and she co-hosts the podcast Call Your Girlfriend. Prior to this Aminatou was the Digital Engagement Director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America [IAVA].