Young Women's Equity Coalition

A Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program for Young BIPOC Women in Rhode Island
 
YEAR 2:

SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2021
ONE SATURDAY PER MONTH

JANUARY - APRIL 2022
TWO SATURDAYS PER MONTH

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What is YWEC?

 

The Young Women's Equity Coalition (YWEC)* is a 7-month training and mentoring program that prepares BIPOC young women 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 women 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.

Why is this Coalition important?

 

We created YWEC in response to unjust and long-standing disparities in pay and professional leadership opportunities for women 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 women to fill these positions—a new generation of diverse women 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 Women’s Equity Coalition as the signature DEI training program and mentoring network for BIPOC young women in Rhode Island. YWEC will generate awareness and excitement about DEI work, provide invaluable pre-professional training and peer support for BIPOC young women 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 in the fall; and two Saturdays a month in the spring (in-person or 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 women in Rhode Island

  • ADD new training and experience to college and job applications

  • FORM a diverse and cohesive community of women 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 November

  • CELEBRATE participants' accomplishments at our YWEC Independent Project Showcase and Graduation in April 2022

  • 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!

 
 
 

2021-2022 Mentor Team​​

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Michaelle Larracuente

Founding Head

Excel Academy Charter School RI

 
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Colleen Fonseca Headshot - Colleen Fonse
Colleen Fonseca
 
University Relations Partner

IGT

 
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Kimberly Madhwani

Neuroscience PhD Student 
 
Brown University
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Virgina Albert
 
Civil Rights Investigator & Policy Advisor
 
Boston Housing Authority
 

2021-2022 YWEC Schedule

For youth participants, YWEC meets one Saturday per month in the fall; and two Saturdays per month in the fall from 10am to 2pm. See full schedule below.

Mentors are asked to attend the Mentor Mingle on 11/6 from 12pm-2pm, and then select one other session during the year for their Mentor Visit with the full group.

 

2021-2022 schedule: 

September 25, 2021: Start of YWEC, 10am-2pm

 

October 2, 2021: 10am-2pm

November 6, 2021: 10am-2pm (Mentor Mingle: 12pm-2pm)

December 4, 2021: 10am-2pm

January 15 and January 29, 2022: 10am-2pm

February 5 and February 19, 2022: 10am-2pm

March 12 and March 26, 2022: 10am-2pm

April 9, 2022: 10am-2pm  

April 30, 2022: YWEC Graduation (Time: TBD)

 

How do I get involved?

YOUTH:To apply to be a 2021-2022 YWEC participant, click here.

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

EVERYONETo recommend curriculum material or other resources, click hereHelp spread the word! To view or download our YWEC flyer, click hereDonate 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!

Simona Simpson-Thomas

CEO/Founder

Freedom Dreams
Ronya Traynham

Student Support Services Adviser

Rhode Island College