Manhattan Young Democrats held its fourth annual Engendering Progress event on Wednesday night at Hudson Terrace. Nearly 200 guests came to hear the honorees speak, as well as enjoy the cocktails and company.
MYD President Ben Yee and Women’s Issues Committee Chair Katie Petersen introduced the honorees and spoke of the importance of women’s rights in the United States and in New York, including a mention of the major points of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act.
The first honoree was Girl Develop It, which was started in New York City, and has since branched out to numerous United States cities including Austin, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The organization seeks to empower women by teaching them how to develop software, to combat the gender imbalance in the tech industries. Since the group was founded in 2010, it has taught 1,200 students in New York and 4,000 students across the U.S. “There is nothing so beautiful as seeing the look on someone’s face…when they realize how not hard building software is.” said co-founder Sara Chipps, who accepted the award along with cofounder Vanessa Hurst.
Sanctuary for Families was the next group to be recognized. Founded in 1984, the nonprofit serves domestic abuse victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children. They offer shelter, legal, and health services, and provide outreach and education to raise awareness of domestic violence. MYD members volunteered with Sanctuary for Families during the December 2012 holidays, and were inspired by the organization’s work.
“It’s reassuring to know there are people out there, volunteers who come together to fight the good fight, and committed to educating their own peers right here in New York City to be educated and to be heard, to have a say in their own democracy, which is so powerful, and advocating on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers who may not have a voice, like some of the clients we serve at Sanctuary for Families.” said Emily Lo Bue, Senior Manager of Volunteer Resources.
Jessica Valenti, the third honoree, was unable to make it to the event due to a family emergency. Valenti founded the blog Feministing, and was named one of the top 100 inspiring women by The Guardian. She is also a widely published feminist writer. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Nation, and Ms. Magazine.
“Being able to watch the momentum of feminism online from the beginning has really been amazing. What’s especially exciting right now is to think about the opportunity we have in front of us to get off the defensive and start thinking about what proactive activism could look like around feminism, whether its reproductive rights, violence against women, or economic justice.” Valenti wrote in her statement for Engendering Progress.
MYD Women’s Issues Committee meets the second Tuesday of every month. For more information and to get involved, email [email protected]