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Theme: The Culture of Courage
In recent times, women leaders are re-affirming the call and standing for a Culture of Courage more powerful than ever before. Today, women aren’t begging to be heard, or even demanding it, but are simply expecting it. And this deliberate expectation overshadows fear; women are speaking up, women who are bringing attention to injustice, women are supporting each other and not taking “no” or “not right now” for an answer.
The 2019 Women in Green platform theme, The Culture of Courage, celebrated the crucially needed and deliberate voice that women bring to society and to the green building movement. Spiritual Activist and Author Marianne Williamson once said “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.” It takes a Culture of Courage to stand firm as women and continue to fight for what is right – equality and equity with positions at the top and voices at the table.
This means more female seats in the boardroom, closing the gender gap in elected positions, more women leaders in high-ranking STEM jobs, accessible and affordable maternity and child care and higher expectations of society as a whole. Together, women need to continue to act as connectors and support each other because as Williamson said, when we “let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Women in Green celebrated the Culture of Courage that will define the future for women all over the world.
Dr. Mildred McClain AKA Mama Bahati, a 50-year veteran of the People's Movement for Justice and Self Determination worldwide, currently serves as the Executive Director for the Harambee House/Citizens for Environmental Justice. She founded the organization in 1990. Mama Bahati has worked in the fields of education, community development, public health, environmental justice, and people's liberation struggles for over 50 years. She has championed youth leadership development through the Black Youth Leadership Development Institute since 1988, where over 3,000 young people have been trained and put to work for their people.
Considered an environmental justice pioneer, McClain has engaged with communities all over the world, assisting in building their capacity to speak for themselves as well as participate substantively in decision-making processes that impact their daily lives. For 30 years she has fought for environmental justice in marginalized and disenfranchised communities throughout the USA. She has worked tirelessly to bring attention to the plight of people of color who live near nuclear weapons production sites and address the impact of radiation. High school graduate of the Commonwealth School of Boston, Graduate of the University of Massachusetts - Boston, Master of Education from Harvard and Antioch, Doctorate in Education from Harvard School of Education, 2017 Recipient of the Sierra Club's Robert Bullard Environmental Justice Award and the American Public Health Association's Damu Smith Environmental Health Achievement Award.
Mama Bahati is a devout believer and a staunch Pan-Africanist. She has been serving God since age 12, when she was baptized in Second Arnold Baptist Church, Savannah, Georgia. She has studied meditation, healing arts, Tai Chi, yoga, and African Spiritual Practices since 1969. A mother, grandma, and godmother.
Shelia Haji has more than twenty-five years of experience as a consultant, trainer, and executive coach. She has facilitated the professional development of leaders in Fortune 500 companies, public sector agencies, foundations, and community development organizations. Mrs. Haji leverages her expertise and knowledge to help leaders at every level direct their awareness, skill development, and energy in positive and productive ways. She received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Virginia and earned a M.S. degree in Telecommunications Policy from George Washington University and a M.S. degree in Organizational Development from The American University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in positive organizational change.