Perspective on YWCA USA’s 2012 Conference
YWCA Hartford Region employee, Stephanie Pliskin, Asst. Manager of School Age Programs, traveled to Washington D.C. to attend YWCA’s 2012 Conference. She really enjoyed Shaking Things Up with YWCA women from across the country. Read her account of the conference below.
I guess I should start by saying WOW, what an experience! As a first timer and a ‘young’ professional, I was blown away by the women I met during those three days. It was a privilege to be surrounded by such intelligent and influential professionals.
The walk up to Capitol Hill was a sight to be seen. We were a sea of persimmon, and more than once I was asked by passers by what we were up to. I wore my persimmon scarf proudly, and when we arrived, I found the legislators’ staff receptive to our views on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). We are lucky in Connecticut to have politicians whose views are in line with what we do here at YWCA. Some states didn’t have it so easy- the delegates from the Midwest and Southern regions were met with hostility and antipathy when it came to the reauthorization of VAWA. How discouraging it must have been for those women to work towards something that they truly believe in, only for it to fall on deaf ears.
For me, the highlight of the conference was a speech given by Vice President Joe Biden. Women’s issues are clearly something that he supports, made obvious by his captivating account of a battered woman escaping her abuser. Vice President Biden’s support of YWCA and his clear commitment to championing organizations that advocate for women and families reaffirmed my faith in what we do.
And then there was the gala. My oh my, what an event! I’ve never seen an ‘orange’ carpet before (think red carpet, but way more fun). Watching as influential women around the country accepted Philanthropic and Humanitarian awards, I couldn’t help but think that at that moment, everybody in the room has the capacity to make the world a better place. They all have the drive, the ambition, the heart, the brains, and the wardrobe to make it happen. And I was in there with them! It was absolutely the highlight of my time at YWCA, and I am just getting started.