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Statewide Women's Network Offers Action to Those Who Say, "Me Too"

Women AdvaNCe Executive Director Naomi Randolph (center) works with staff members to coordinate the upcoming North Carolina Women's Summit. (Women AdvaNCe)
Women AdvaNCe Executive Director Naomi Randolph (center) works with staff members to coordinate the upcoming North Carolina Women's Summit. (Women AdvaNCe)
October 19, 2017

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The phrase "Me too" has taken on new significance this week, as more women and men are sharing their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.

The message is resonating beyond the issue of violence against women, and extending to other parts of their lives. For many, it's been building momentum since the Women's March.

It's also why Women AdvaNCe, a nonpartisan and nonprofit policy education group, is hosting the North Carolina Women's Summit the first week in November. Executive Director Naomi Randolph explained.

"Clearly, it's an act of solidarity,” Randolph said. "Women are 'me too-ing' it all over social media, and so there's a space around asserting one's own truth, but also standing with other women as they also assert their truth."

The N.C. Women's Summit is November 4 in Greensboro at Bennett College. Randolph said it will feature state and local leaders and experts on the economy, healthcare and education.

The group is partnering with others, including the N.C. Justice Center and American Association of University Women, to provide a way for women in the state to get involved beyond the ballot box.

Antoinette Kerr, who plans to attend the Summit, is a co-coordinator of Speak Up! - an event on November 3 that will feature original poetry by female authors on the theme of persistence. She explained why she co-created the poetry series.

"We both felt like our voices were being squelched in ways, and we started traveling to do spoken word poetry in other communities,” Kerr said. "And then we thought about it and said, you know, at some point, 'why are we afraid to speak up in our own communities?'"

This year's theme of the Women's Summit is Thriving Through Change. Randolph said it's an idea that drives her and other women as they confront policy changes they see as having a negative impact on their daily lives.

"There's not a period at the end of this sentence when we think about the Summit - the Summit is a beginning point,” she said. "This is a place where we want to begin the process of healing collectively and also building bridges. This is a place where your ideas will be valued."

More information is available online at WomenAdvanceNC.org. Tickets start at $25 and scholarships are available.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC