Conference Honorees and Speakers
Olga Vives Award
Brittney Cooper is Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University. She is a Black feminist theorist who specializes in the study of Black women’s intellectual history, Hip Hop generation feminism, and race and gender representation in popular culture. Her first book Race Women: Gender and the Making of a Black Public Intellectual Tradition is forthcoming in 2017 from the University of Illinois Press. It examines the long history of Black women’s thought leadership in the U.S., with a view toward reinvigorating contemporary scholarly and popular conversations about Black feminism.
Dr. Cooper is also a sought after public speaker and commentator. In addition to a monthly column on race and gender politics at Cosmopolitan.com, her work and words have appeared at the New York Times, the Washington Post, Salon.com, the Los Angeles Times, Ebony.com, The Root.com, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show, All In With Chris Hayes, Third Rail on Al-Jazeera America, among many others. She is also a co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective, a popular feminist blog
Grace E. Franklin
Woman of Action Award
Grace E. Franklin is a published poet, playwright, actress and director born in Oklahoma City. She attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. While at Lincoln University she was a founder of the literary magazine Under One Sun. After returning to Oklahoma City, she began hosting open mic poetry nights and performing across the country. She has been a featured artist in Atlanta, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. She released her third book of poetry and CD “Up From Red Clay”. Ms. Franklin believes in pushing boundaries and continually learning. She has studied and performed Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance.
In October 2014, she co-founded OKC Artists for Justice. The organization was formed to ensure that women of color have an opportunity to receive justice and national attention as they struggle with disproportionate rates of violence and sexual assault. She has written about race, gender and equality in various publications. Recently she was seen on TV One’s Roland Martin Now, Democracy Now, Al Jazeera and BBC America. She was a panelist at The Take Root Conference 2016: Red States Perspective on Reproductive Justice and discussed the regional complexities of women of color in the south in relation to race, religion and economics. She has discussed community organizing as a panelist for the Women of Color Network, Inc. (WOCN) Economic Policy & Leadership Southern Regional Forum. Recently she discussed community organizing at Columbia Law School. Ms. Franklin is committed to the spiritual, political and physical liberation of women of color through advocacy, community work and policy changes.
Woman of Vision Award
Muriel Fox is a public relations executive who as one of the co-founders of the National Organization for Women helped to organize NOW’s founding conference, serving then as NOW vice president (1967-70), national chairwoman (1971-73) and chair of the National Advisory Committee (1973-74). Muriel acted as President Betty Friedan’s operations director in the early years, orchestrating a nationwide publicity effort that introduced the modern women’s movement to the world. She founded and edited NOW’s first national newsletter, “Do It Now,” and wrote many important letters signed by Friedan to government officials demanding quicker action to reduce discrimination. Importantly, Muriel wrote the letter that persuaded President Lyndon Johnson to sign Executive Order 11246 in1967, adding sex to Affirmative Action efforts thus opening up millions of corporate jobs for women. A 1968 letter she wrote for Friedan to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission addressed the need to prohibit sex-segregated Help Wanted ads, leading to one of NOW’s earliest victories.
Muriel also served as president of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (1978-81) and board chair (1981-92) as well as serving on the founding committees of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Women’s Economic Roundtable, and American Women in Radio and Television. She has chaired Veteran Feminists of America since 1994. She was also a founder and president of The Women’s Forum. Muriel is senior editor of “Feminists who Changed America,” with the biographies of 2,200 women and men who created the modern women’s movement. Muriel is the recipient of numerous awards for her charitable, civic, professional, and feminist organizing work and is listed in Who’s Who of American Women, among other prestigious listings.
Victoria J. Mastrobuono Award for Women’s Health
Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health, rights and justice for the 28 million Latinas in the United States. She has been a leader in progressive movements for over 15 years, successfully forging connections between reproductive health, gender, immigration, LGBTQ liberation, labor and Latino civil rights, breaking down barriers between movements and building a strong Latina grassroots presence. She is an authentic voice for Latinas and a regular presence in national media outlets. Jessica is a strong voice for Latinas and a regular presence in national and local media outlets. She is a frequent contributor to El Diario/La Prensa, the Daily Beast, and Huffington Post on pressing reproductive health issues in the Latina community, as well as a regular media voice in local and national outlets such as MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show, MSNBC’s News Nation, National Public Radio, the Bill Moyers Show, the Boston Globe, the New York Times and Fox News Latino.
Jessica sits on the Board of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, chairing the Latina Task Force and the Health Committee, and serves in an advisory role with Law Students for Reproductive Justice and Emily’s List. She is also currently a member of the Steering Committee for the New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative. Jessica and NLIRH has been honored for their work by several outlets and organizations, including Latina Magazine as one of 2014’s “10 Most Inspiring Latina Activists”, Cosmo for Latinas as a “Fun, Fearless Latina” in 2014, the National Council of Jewish Women as a “Champion for Choice” in 2013, LATISM as 2013’s “Best Non-Profit” and by El Diario/La Prensa as one of 2009’s “Mujeres Destacadas” (Women of Honor); she was also recognized on Cosmopolitan’s “2013 Power List” in the October 2013 issue, has been named one of “13 Women of Color to Watch in 2013” by the Center for American Progress.
Jessica is an Adjunct Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies at the City University of New York and has taught courses on reproductive rights, gender and sexuality. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a certificate from the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.
Woman of Action Award
Originally from Greenville, MS, Candace Liger is a mother of two intensely accurate reflections, a 2014 Women of the World nationally ranked spoken word artist, a certified fitness trainer & health coach with a degree in Health and Wellness, and the CEO of #GoodFunk HeadQuarters- an organization focusing on utilizing health and creativity as means to achieving individual liberation.
Candace is the co-founder of OKC Artists for Justice- a grassroots organization founded to provide advocacy for women of color involved in the Daniel Holtzclaw case. In April 2016, her organization was awarded the 2016 Community Impact Award at the Oklahoma Women of Color Expo presented by Perry Publishing and Broadcasting and the Community Organization award from the state Zeta Phi Beta Chapter.
Utilizing her array of skills, she advances her education through mentorship and instruction as a facilitator for Oklahoma City Health Department’s Family Wellness program and through teaching spoken word performance and expressive movement to inner city children in collaboration with the Oklahoma City Urban League. Additionally, she is the premier fitness blogger for the Poets Without Limits Online Magazine. Additionally, she has a spoken word cd entitled “NothingBack Blues” which tackles the complexities of intersectionality as an artistic woman of color. Candace is the creator of AfroDGak – an erotica liberation offering that caters to exploring creative outlets to encourage sexual health consisting of workshops, poetry shows, and performances. She also co-hosts a radio podcast AfroYoni tackling politics, health, entertainment, and more.
Find more information about #GooDFunk HeadQuarters visit: www.CandaceLiger.com.
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Woman of Impact Award
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski began her career as a social worker in Baltimore and ever since has been determined to make a difference in her community. Today, she is proud to be the Senate from Maryland, and the Senator for Maryland. She has a long record of fighting for women and economic opportunities that help American families.
As the first Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Mikulski puts money in the federal checkbook for initiatives that advance American women and families. She has championed child care for working families and helped pass the 2009 Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to guarantee equal pay for equal work. One of her earliest legislative successes was her Spousal Impoverishment Act, which helped elderly couples pay for care without first losing their homes. A devoted advocate for women’s health, she has worked to end gender discrimination in health care, and guarantee women access to preventative care through her own Mikulski Women’s Preventive Health Amendment. In 1990, Mikulski helped establish the Office of Women’s Health and Research at the National Institutes of Health, whose groundbreaking research on hormone treatment led to a nationwide drop in breast cancer rates, saving lives a million at a time.
Currently serving her fifth term, Senator Mikulski was the first Democratic woman to be elected to the Senate in her own right and the first Democratic woman to serve in both houses of Congress. A leader in the Senate, Mikulski is the Dean of the Women – serving as a mentor and helping to build coalitions among the Senate women. On March 17, 2012 she became the longest serving woman in the history of the United States Congress. Of that milestone, she has always said that it’s not about how long she serves, but how well she serves the people of Maryland and our nation.
Woman of Courage Award
Emma Sulkowicz was born in 1992 in New York, NY, where she continues to live and make art. She is perhaps best known for her senior thesis at Columbia University–a performance work titled Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)–and her more recent works titled Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol and Self-Portrait (Performance With Object).
Candace Bond-Theriault (@attorney_bond) is the Policy Counsel for Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice at the National LGBTQ Task Force where she primarily works to combine the Reproductive Rights communities and the LGBTQ communities to fight against religious refusals at the federal legislative level.
Previously Bond worked as a Legislative Assistant in the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. In this capacity, Bond worked to advance the organization’s civil liberties and civil rights agenda in Congress and the executive branch by focusing on LGBT Rights, Reproductive Rights and Women’s Rights. Bond received her LL.M. degree from the American University Washington College of Law, her J.D. degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law and her B.A. in Human Rights with a focus on race, gender and sexuality from the College of William and Mary.
Candace is licensed to practice law in North Carolina.
Patricia Hill Collins
Patricia Hill Collins is Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park and Charles Phelps Taft Emeritus Professor of Sociology within the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Her award-winning books include Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (1990, 2000) which received both the Jessie Bernard Award of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems; and Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (2004) which received ASA’s 2007 Distinguished Publication Award. She is also author of Fighting Words: Black Women and the Search for Justice (1998); From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism (2005); Another Kind of Public Education: Race, Schools, the Media, and Democratic Possibilities (2009); The Handbook of Race and Ethnic Studies (2010) edited with John Solomos; and On Intellectual Activism (2013). Her anthology Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, 9th edition (2015), edited with Margaret Andersen, is widely used in undergraduate classrooms in over 200 colleges and universities. Professor Collins has taught at several institutions, held editorial positions with professional journals, lectured widely in the United States and internationally, served in many capacities in professional organizations, and has acted as consultant for a number of community organizations. In 2008, she became the 100th President of the American Sociological Association, the first African American woman elected to this position in the organization’s 104-year history. Her latest book, Intersectionality, co-authored with Sirma Bilge, will be published in 2016 as part of Polity Press’s Key Concepts Series.
Former NOW President
Throughout her career, Kim has remained profoundly committed to ensuring that women have the opportunity to lead healthy lives in safety and prosperity. Her long career in advocacy, legislative reform and coalition-building includes areas such as violence against women, family law, workplace fairness, poverty and economic issues, and social security. In addition to volunteering at a local shelter, Kim was a founder and director of the New Orleans Metropolitan Battered Women’s Program
Kim spent 22 years as a top leader of the National Organization for Women (NOW), first as national secretary, then executive vice president and finally, president. Kim served on the legislative drafting committees for the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and during her work with both organizations was a guiding force in many landmark cases and legislative gains, such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University with Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and education, Kim holds a Juris doctorate degree from Loyola University School of Law. Kim currently serves as the president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Former NOW President
While serving as President of NOW from 1982-1985, Judy organized local chapters across the country. In the state legislative sessions of 1983, nearly 100 anti-abortion bills were introduced but fewer than twenty passed. Under Goldsmith’s leadership, NOW made its second-ever presidential endorsement, voting to support former Vice President and women’s rights champion Walter Mondale in the democratic primary. With NOW’s urging to choose a woman, Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate.
In January of 1984, Goldsmith organized a Lesbian Rights Conference in Milwaukee, WI, which focused on the themes of power and politics as NOW headed into an election year. The same weekend, NOW marked the 11th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with nationwide picketing of Republican offices to protest President Reagan’s anti-abortion leadership. Goldsmith responded to the wave of anti-abortion terrorism by increasing NOW’s presence and demanding a full-scale investigation into the attacks. Goldsmith is currently retired from her position as Dean/CEO of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Goldsmith resides in Wisconsin where she most recently served as CEO/Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac.
NOW Vice President
Bonnie Grabenhofer is a dedicated feminist who balanced a highly successful consulting career with her extensive volunteer work in the women’s movement. She has been involved with NOW at the local, state and national levels in numerous capacities. She was elected executive vice president in June 2009 and vice president in 2013.
Grabenhofer supervises the Government Relations, Chapter Services, Political, and Internal Operations Departments. She has also supervised NOW’s chapter development program and national action campaigns such as the campaign for marriage equality including support for the federal Respect for Marriage Act and state legislation and ballot initiatives. As director of the NOW/PAC, she works with NOW state organizations, candidates, and the NOW/PAC to shepherd hundreds of federal endorsements through NOW’s grassroots endorsement process and oversees NOW’s projects to send NOW activists to key states to work on elections.
Grabenhofer has served as president and several other positions in her local chapter and also served as president of Illinois NOW, chair of the Illinois NOW PAC, and represented the Great Lakes region on the National NOW board from 2002 to 2004. During her presidency, Illinois NOW introduced reproductive justice legislation and began a successful telemarketing campaign. She is passionate about electoral politics and used her organizing expertise in many elections, including Hillary Clinton for president and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun’s historic campaign to become the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. She led the grassroots support for the fiercely contested opening of the Aurora, Illinois Women’s Health Clinic, generating significant media which earned her recognition as the “Face of 2007” in the Beacon News.
Prior to her election as a national NOW officer, Grabenhofer was a principal in Partners In Learning, Inc., and has over 20 years of experience in instructional design, project management, and performance improvement consulting. Grabenhofer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree from National Louis University, and is a Certified Performance Technologist.
Former NOW President
Aileen Clarke Hernandez has been fighting against discrimination in all of its forms. She has been with the National Organization for Women (NOW) for a long time. She started as the Vice President since the founding of NOW, and became the second President. She has also served as Commissioner of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Founder and President of the consulting firm Hernandez and Associates.
Under her leadership with NOW, she led the amazing Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970. Hernandez is also celebrated for having played a key role in ensuring a voice for minorities in the women’s movement. In 1973, she founded the group Black Women Organized for Action. She chairs the California Women’s Agenda, a state alliance of over 600 organizations, and is the founder and coordinator of Black Women Stirring the Waters, a discussion group in the San Francisco Bay Area which, in 1998, published a book of essays by forty-four of its member.
Born and educated in New York, Aileen is a magna cum laude graduate from Howard University with a degree in political science and sociology. She also has a master’s degree in government from California State University at Los Angeles and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Southern Vermont College
Former NOW President
Patricia Ireland was elected President of NOW in 1991, and she has stayed in the position for 10 years. During her presidency, she founded NOW’s Project Stand Up for Women, which trained thousands of activists in clinic defense. Trained defenders safeguard access to women’s health clinics by peacefully escorting patients or staff. Ireland also used litigation as a tool in defending clinics. She worked to turn the NOW v. Scheidler lawsuit, which accused abortion protesters of conspiring to deny women their reproductive rights, into a class-action suit on behalf of all women seeking reproductive health services. She also worked on helping more women get elected into office.She was a major organizer of both the 1992 Global Feminist Conference that brought together women from 45 countries and the 1993 March on Washington for Gay, Lesbian, and Bi Civil Rights.
Patricia was born in Illinois, and later moved to Valparaiso, Indiana. After beginning college at DePauw, Ireland transferred to the University of Tennessee, where she received her B.A. She began law school at Florida State University, then transferred to and received her J.D. from the University of Miami. She has always been a dedicated fighter for women.
Jacqueline Kozin is a recognized national leader on women’s rights and a seasoned political veteran. She has national and international experience advocating for women and progressive values. She has served as Co-President of CT NOW, Vice Chair of the Women’s Caucus of Young Democrats of America, Chair of the NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC, Co-Chair of PCSW’s Young Women’s Leadership Program and Co-President of Connecticut Young Democrats.
Ms. Kozin holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, is a board member of NOW PAC and is the Founder and Co-Chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus.
She is the rare female campaign manager who has never lost a political race she led. Her most recent campaigns are the election and re-election of Connecticut’s first openly gay statewide elected official, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, for whom she currently serves as Director of Intergovernmental and Community Affairs.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn has served as executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to the preservation of the Constitution’s religious liberty provisions, since 1992.
Lynn is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and an attorney. He’s also an accomplished speaker who appears frequently on television and radio broadcasts to offer analysis of First Amendment issues. News programs on which Lynn has appeared include PBS’s “NewsHour,” NBC’s “Today Show,” Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor,” ABC’s “Nightline,” CBS’s “60 Minutes,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper” and the national nightly news on NBC, ABC and CBS.
In 2006, Lynn authored Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault On Religious Freedom (Harmony Books). In 2008 he coauthored (with C. Welton Gaddy) First Freedom First: A Citizen’s Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State (Beacon Press). His latest book is God & Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom Of Conscience (Prometheus Books).
A member of the Washington, D.C. and U.S. Supreme Court bar, Lynn earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1978. In addition, he received his theology degree from Boston University School of Theology in 1973.
Lynn is the winner of many national awards, including the Freedom of Worship Award from the Roosevelt Institute, the Puffin/Nation Foundation’s Creative Citizenship Award and the American Humanist Association’s Religious Liberty Award.
Shireen is founder of Digital Sisters/Sistas Inc. which is the first organization to focus on women and girls of color in tech and online access. She founded Stop Online Violence Against Women (SOVAW) with a focus to address online threats of violence against women particularly women who face both gender based and racially charged threats of violence. She is co-founder of Nonprofit 2.0 and Feminism 2.0. She is the first African American Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations. Shireen is a pioneer who was born and raised in the projects of New York City, playing video games before they could be played on televisions and designing BBS boards and gopher sites prior to the Web going world wide. She is an award winning woman of color, founder, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, advocate, diversity analyst, and a political, digital & social strategist. Read more about her at http://digitalsista.me/about.
Terry O’Neill, a feminist attorney, professor and activist for social justice, was elected president of NOW in June 2009. She is also president of the NOW Foundation and chair of the NOW Political Action Committee, and serves as the principal spokesperson for all three entities. O’Neill oversees NOW’s multi-issue agenda, which includes: advancing reproductive rights and justice, promoting racial justice, stopping violence against women, winning civil and human rights for the LGBTQIA community, ensuring economic justice, ending sex discrimination and achieving constitutional equality for women.
O’Neill’s feminist activism began in the 1990s, fighting right-wing extremists in the Deep South, including David Duke. She has served as president of Louisiana NOW and New Orleans NOW and as a member of the National Racial Diversity Committee. She is a past president of Maryland NOW and served on the NOW National Board twice, representing the Mid-South Region (2000-2001) and the Mid-Atlantic Region (2007-2009). O’Neill was NOW’s membership vice president from 2001 to 2005, when she oversaw NOW’s membership development program as well as the Finance and Government Relations departments.
A former law professor, O’Neill taught at Tulane in New Orleans and at the University of California at Davis, where her courses included feminist legal theory and international women’s rights law, in addition to corporate law and legal ethics. She has testified before committees in the Maryland House of Delegates and has written federal amicus briefs on abortion rights for Louisiana NOW, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.
O’Neill is a skilled political organizer, having worked on such historic campaigns as Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and the campaign leading to the election of Louisiana’s first woman U.S. senator, Mary Landrieu. She also worked to elect women’s rights supporters to judgeships and the state legislature in Louisiana, as well as the successful campaign to elect former Maryland NOW president and NOW National Board member Duchy Trachtenberg to the Montgomery County (MD) Council.
O’Neill holds a bachelor’s degree in French with distinction from Northwestern University and a law degree magna cum laude from Tulane University. She has one child, a daughter who is a proud feminist.
Former NOW President, President of Feminist Majority
Throughout her career Eleanor Smeal has led efforts for the economic, political, and social equality and empowerment of women worldwide for over three decades. She has played a leading role in both national and state campaigns to win women’s rights legislation and in a number of landmark state and federal court cases for women’s rights. During her time as President of the National Organization for Women, Eleanor Smeal led the drive to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), the largest nationwide grassroots and lobbying campaign in the history of the modern women’s movement. The ERA campaign reshaped the contours of women’s political participation in the U.S. and demonstrated the strength and breadth of public support for women’s rights.
Smeal currently serves on a number of boards, including the National Council for Research on Women, the National Organization for Women, the Executive Committee of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, and the Leadership Circle of the Alliance for Ratification of CEDAW. She is also a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University and holds an M.A. degree from the University of Florida. She received an honorary Doctor of Law from Duke University, an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Florida, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Mini Timmaraju currently serves as the Women’s Outreach Director for Hillary for America in Brooklyn, NY.
Prior to this role she served in senior roles with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, the US House of Representatives and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.
Mini received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley and completed her J.D. at the University of Houston Law Center where she was the recipient of the Joan Garfinkle Glantz award for outstanding work in the field of civil rights and the Class of 1999 Distinguished Service Award. Over her 20 year career she has held positions with state and local political and advocacy campaigns and organizations.
Her hobbies and interests include cooking, travel, karaoke and the study and performance of Hindustani classical music.
Jamia Wilson is many things: An activist. A feminist. A storyteller. A mediamaker. But more than anything, she is a natural-born thought leader. As Executive Director of Women, Action, & the Media, the former YTH Executive Director, TED Prize Storyteller, and former Vice President of Programs at The Women’s Media Center, Jamia has been a powerful force in the social justice movement for nearly a decade. As a leading voice on feminist and women’s rights issues, her work and words have appeared in and on several outlets such as New York Magazine, The Today Show, and The Washington Post. She’s also a staff writer for Rookie and has contributed to several books such as Madonna and Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop, and I Still Believe Anita Hill. But what we’re most excited about is her own book that she’s currently writing about Beyonce and feminism. (Yes, really.) It’s no surprise she was named in Refinery29’s “17 Faces of the Future of Feminism.
Miriam W. Yeung
Miriam W. Yeung, MPA, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), guides the country’s only national, multi-issue, progressive organization dedicated to social justice and human rights for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the US. With offices in NYC, DC and Atlanta, and chapters in 15 cities, NAPAWF is the country’s policy advocacy and leadership platform for AAPI women to win reproductive justice, immigrant rights and economic justice.
Prior to NAPAWF, Miriam held many positions during her 10-year career at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center) in New York City, the last of which was Director of Public Policy & Government Relations where she oversaw policy matters on the local, state and federal level. She started her career at the Center as a Youth Worker responsible for empowering young people to fight bullying and create safer schools.
Miriam is published in diverse publications in print and online and is a sought after speaker and workshop presenter. In 2016 Miriam received the Ms. Foundation’s Woman of Vision award. In 2012, Miriam was recognized by the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) with the Making A Difference for Women award. In 2007, Miriam received special recognition from the New York City Council for her work with the LGBT youth community.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in the projects of Brooklyn, Miriam is a proud queer Asian American immigrant woman activist who is committed to social-justice movement building and raising her two young daughters to be fearless. Miriam holds a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College and a bachelor’s from New York University.