Young Womxn's Equity Coalition

A New Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Training & Mentoring Program
for BIPOC Young Womxn
in Rhode Island
YEAR 1 :
NOVEMBER 2020 - JUNE 2021

What is YWEC?


The Young Womxn's Equity Coalition (YWEC)* is a new 8-month training and mentoring program that prepares BIPOC young womxn in Rhode Island to assume power in society and be champions of equity, inclusion and anti-racism in their future communities and workplaces.


The YWEC participant group consists of high-school-age young womxn in Rhode Island who identify ​as Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Over the course of the year, participants build solidarity with one another, gain confidence and marketable skills in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work, and form one-on-one relationships with accomplished BIWoC Mentors who are already seasoned champions of equity.

*For this program, we spell womxn with an to recognize that gender identity is a nonbinary spectrum, independent from assigned sex at birth — we enthusiastically welcome trans and nonbinary young people to join our new coalition!

Why is this Coalition important?


We created YWEC in response to unjust and long-standing disparities in pay and professional leadership opportunities for womxn of color in Rhode Island, with a belief that the growing field of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion offers a systemic way to address these gaps. More and more job openings, both locally and nationally, are emphasizing experience in DEI work, and we want RI’s interested Black, Indigenous and POC young womxn to fill these positions—a new generation of diverse womxn leaders advocating for inclusive and anti-racist workplaces while building generational power and wealth in the process.

To help this become a reality, we aim to establish the Young Womxn’s Equity Coalition as the signature DEI training program and mentoring network for BIPOC young womxn in Rhode Island. YWEC will generate awareness and excitement about DEI work, provide invaluable pre-professional training and peer support for BIPOC young womxn in our state, and build an intergenerational community with adult BIWoC mentors who serve as personal and career role models.

What is Diversity, Equity & Inclusion?


That's a lot of what we'll be discussing this year! But to get started, here are some working definitions written by a group of equity professionals:

Diversitypsychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals; including but not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, genetic information and learning styles. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist.

Equity - the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all members of a community, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.

Inclusion - the act of creating involvement, environments and empowerment in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate with equal access to opportunities and resources embrace differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.

(And, just for good measure, let's add one more...)

Anti-racism - the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.

What do YWEC participants do?

  • MEET one Saturday per month (via Zoom until further notice)

  • GAIN firsthand exposure to exciting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work, and start to build a DEI knowledge base

  • DEVOTE time outside meetings to YWEC assignments + projects

  • CONNECT with a BIWoC Mentor who is already engaged in the work

  • COMPLETE an impactful, yearlong DEI Independent Project with the support of your mentor

  • ATTEND presentations from YWEC Mentors each month at the Saturday sessions

  • BECOME informed and motivated to end leadership and pay disparities for BIPOC womxn in Rhode Island

  • ADD new training and experience to college and job applications

  • FORM a diverse and cohesive community of womxn who can provide professional and personal guidance in the years ahead

What do YWEC Mentors do?

  • MENTOR between one and three high school age participants

  • CONNECT with mentees for at least 2 hours of self-scheduled check-ins per month (Zoom, phone, text, e-mail, etc.)

  • SHARE stories, advice and insight about fighting for diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism in a professional context

  • PROVIDE guidance and support as mentees design and complete a yearlong DEI Independent Project

  • WELCOME our new participants and give a personal introduction at the YWEC Mentor Mingle in December

  • CELEBRATE participants' accomplishments at our YWEC Independent Project Showcase and Graduation in June 2021

  • LEAD a two-hour session during one of our monthly YWEC meetings

  • JOIN our new YWEC network and help it grow for years to come!

2020-2021 Mentor Team​​

Brenda Westberry
Westberry Consulting
Drine Paul
Executive Director
Breakthrough Providence
Screen Shot 2020-07-29 at 12.38.20 AM -
Carlene Fonseca
Associate Director
Providence College
Feinstein Institute for Public Service
Kilah Walters-Clinton

Probation Officer & DEI Consultant
RI Department for Children Youth & Families
Colleen Fonseca
Director of Workforce Development and Economic Opportunity
City of Providence
Kimberly Madhwani

Neuroscience PhD Student
Brown University
Pilar McCloud

A Sweet Creation
Youth Organization
Princess Bomba
Director of Unity & Diversity
The Wheeler School
Stephanie Nunes
Program Admin
Youth in Action
Virgina Albert
Civil Rights Specialist
Boston Housing Authority
Wendy Wallace
College & Career Strategy Specialist
RI Department of Education

2020-2021 YWEC Schedule

For youth participants, YWEC meets one Saturday per month for four hours. Due to safety concerns surrounding Covid-19, we will meet on Zoom until further notice.

Mentors are asked to attend the Mentor Mingle on 12/12 from noon-1pm, and then select one other session during the year for their Mentor Visit with the full group.


2020-2021 schedule: 

November Session: Sat. 11/14, 10am-2pm

December Session: Sat. 12/12, 10am-2pm

January Session: Sat. 1/16, 10am-2pm

February Session: Sat. 2/6, 10am-2pm

March Session: Sat. 3/13, 10am-2pm

April Session: Sat. 4/3, 10am-2pm

May Session: Sat. 5/15, 10am-2pm

Independent Project Showcase & Graduation: Sat. 6/12, time TBD

How do I get involved?


The application for the 2020-2021 year is now closed. To pre-apply to be a 2021-2022 YWEC participant, click here.


Interested in being a part of the 2021-2022 YWEC Mentor Team? Click here.


To recommend curriculum material or other resources, click here.

Help spread the word! To view or download our YWEC flyer, click here.

Donate to YWEC, via Paypal or Network for Good!

Thanks to our supporters!

A major thank you to the Women's Fund of Rhode Island, who believed in this program and provided us the support to make it possible. We are grateful for your commitment to advancing justice and equity for BIPOC womxn of all ages in Rhode Island!