Jan Robinson Flint
Byline: Kafi Blumenfield
Many L.A.-area schools are on spring break but Liberty Hill’s training program, the Wally Marks Leadership Institute, has been in full session—in the conference room at our office. So I’ve been chatting in the hallway this past week with participants, including leaders of Black Women for Wellness.
BWW leaders Yaw K. Davis, Jan Robinson Flint and Dawn Sanders are training in grassroots fundraising and other capacity-building skills. That's Jan pictured above giving a nod to Liberty Hill supporters with the sign reading "Asante Sana" (Swahili for "thank you").
Black Women for Wellness has touched the lives of more than 15,000 women and their families with health information and education since its founding 1997. It was started by a group of sisterfriends concerned with maternal and infant health disparities suffered by African American women. It is now a vibrant education and advocacy organization committed to enhancing the health and well-being of Black women.
BWW has expanded the dialogue about HIV prevention among Black women, increased communication among the Pan African communities of Los Angeles, trained breast-health motivators and safe-sex educators, created a mentoring program for new mothers, conducted research into connections between certain beauty products and health issues, and been a vital presence offering a racial and gender perspective at many influential conferences and government hearings. It has been present, for example, as a significant voice advocating for women’s reproductive health services in deliberations about the re-opening of Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in South L.A.
At its monthly breakfast gathering called Sisters at Eight (that’s a.m.!), BWW brings activists, policymakers, health care professionals and other Black women together for discussion, networking and programs like last week’s “The Impact of the Media on Women and Girls.”
Liberty Hill's support of grassroots community organizations in L.A. includes not only grantmaking but also leadership training, alliance building and other strategic initiatives. The Wally Marks Leadership Institute is part of that multi-faceted support.
BWW leaders also attended last year's Leadership Institute and Dawn was one of the speakers at our January celebration of achievements by first-year participants. You can read some of her comments about what she learned here.