I attended a celebration of International Women’s Day in Austin, Texas a few weeks ago. We had an incredible line up of attendees, including County Commissioner Margaret Gomez, District Clerk Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza, and women from World Vision, Nuru International and Congressman Doggett’s office who joined ONE members to discuss women’s impact in local and global communities.
Guest speakers included Dr. Carolyn Heinrich from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, Austin, who showed us one of the first Millennium Development Goal maps and discussed the important pursuit of the MDGs as well as her first experiences as a ONE member back in Wisconsin.
Following Dr. Heinrich was Janessa Goldbeck, who stopped through Austin in the middle of her 4,200-mile solo-cycle tour across the country to share some of her recent West Texas experiences. Janessa said folks offered her a place to sleep and warm conversations, and with a smile on her face, she noted these “small towns of 20 and 30” gave her the opportunity to talk about US investments in foreign assistance. Janessa said she particularly enjoyed the look on peoples’ faces when she explained the robust accomplishments of poverty-based assistance all for under 1 percent of the budget.
Both speakers stressed the importance of women’s leadership and continuing these important conversations in their communities. Attendees took action asking their senators to support US investments in programs like PEPFAR and The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria helping to ensure, among many other things, that no child is born with HIV by 2015.
I was glad to be there not only because it may make my mom a little proud, but also because I was reinvigorated to hear living proof of smart US investments, while celebrating examples of women acting locally and thinking globally. We know that getting resources directly in the hands of women is a huge multiplier for US investments in health and agriculture. Training on modern farming techniques, watershed management and marketing, coupled with medication and disease prevention education helps create an environment for families to pull themselves out of extreme poverty. What a wonderful way to celebrate International Women’s Day. Special thanks to ONE members Paulina Sosa and Allen Beuershausen for organizing a great event in Austin.
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