Women’s summit draws sold-out crowd

Newsday  |  21 March 2018  |  BY VICTOR MANUEL RAMOS

A summit conceived to bring together Long Island women of all backgrounds around critical issues in their communities has drawn a sold-out crowd to its first event, scheduled for March 24 at SUNY Old Westbury.

The 300 spots for the first Women’s Diversity Summit have been taken, but the gathering should be just the start of more joint advocacy on women’s issues, said Shanequa Levin, chair of the Long Island Women’s Diversity Network.

Levin, who also directs the children’s advocacy campaign Every Child Matters on Long Island, said the project was born to bridge a divide among women’s groups.

“Just with my advocacy, especially after the election, I noticed that I was going to places where I would be one of two or three black people in an all-white space” at women’s events, Levin said, “and then I would go to black spaces and there wouldn’t be white people.”

She proposed a question to herself, and then to allies in the women’s advocacy community: “How can we be more intentional about coming together to take more political action together?”

The summit resulted from the collaboration of more than two dozen Long Island groups as a first attempt to foster “a more unified sisterhood” while celebrating diversity and considering common concerns.

The summit, to take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature workshops, panel discussions, and presentations that celebrate diversity and inclusion. While all seats are taken, the group is still inviting the public to participate at 4:15 p.m. in a “March for Our Lives” following the summit, held in solidarity with the victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Those interested in future events should visit the group’s website at liwomensdiversity.com.