The four Tennessee Chapters of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women joined together to make a strong presence at the Tennessee General Assembly in mid-March. Members of the chapters spent two days on the Hill to meet with legislators and attend caucus sessions. They were presented on the floor in the House of Representatives by Speaker Pro Tempore Emeritus Lois DeBerry and warmly welcomed by all the members. There were also photo sessions with Gov. Bill Haslam, House Speaker Beth Harwell and the Legislative Black Caucus.
“It was an honor for me to present these distinguished women on the floor of the House,” said Rep. DeBerry. “They serve the community in many ways, just as we do, and a strong developing relationship with those of us who serve in government is an effective way to address the needs of our citizens-particularly women and families.”
Members presented Nashville (Veronica Marable Johnson, president), Knoxville (Deloris Mitchell, president), Chattanooga (Faith Edwards, president) and Memphis (Niki Barnes, president), along with members from each chapter.
The coalition’s made a strong presence at the Capitol, which clearly revealed the relevance of the organizations, as well as the importance of women throughout the state, where women make up 51% of the population of Tennessee.
“Issues of major concern include health care, jobs, education, redistricting, and voter rights law,” said Marilyn Robinson, president, Nashville Coalition of 100 Black Women Foundation, Inc. and coordinator of the 2013 Tennessee Legislative Days Event.
The coalition’s purpose is to focus on education, economic empowerment, and health-related issues, as well as promoting self-sufficiency, networking and leadership development through advocacy with action.
“Our presence at the Tennessee Legislature allowed us to inform legislators about issues that affect African American women, girls and families as a whole,” said Veronica Marable Johnson.
The 2013 Tennessee Legislative Days event was held in conjunction with the Nashville chapter’s annual Sister-for-Sister Conference. In addition to Coalition of 100 Black Women’s national President M. Delois Strum attending the event, it also featured two renowned speakers- empowerment expert Sandra Finley and national financial planner Shirley Ann Robertson.
A highlight of the conference was the announcement of Gracie Porter being the recipient of the prestigious Davis-Galloway Award. Porter is an educator and former chairperson of the Board of Education for the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System.