March 11 – Gender Equality as the Law of the Land
Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney -Keynote Speaker
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney has represented parts of New York City in Congress since 1993. She is the Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and former Chair of the Joint Economic Committee – the first woman to hold both gavels.
A champion of women and families and equal rights for all, Congresswoman Maloney is the longtime House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment. She is also the author of the Federal Employees Paid Leave Act, part of which was signed into law in 2019 to guarantee 12-weeks paid parental leave to federal employees; the Debbie Smith Act to fund processing of DNA evidence in rape and sexual assault cases, which RAINN, the Rape, Incest and Abuse National Network, called “the most important piece of anti-rape legislation that Congress has ever passed;” the Credit CARD Act, which, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), has saved consumers more than $16 billion annually since it was signed into law in 2009; the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and its subsequent reauthorizations; and the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, signed into law in 2020.
Congresswoman Maloney has authored and helped pass legislation that targets sex trafficking, including the first bill that focused on the ‘demand’ side of human trafficking to punish the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. She is co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Human Trafficking, and previously served as the co-chair of the Trafficking Task Force of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.
During her first term in Congress, the Congresswoman passed legislation that provides annual mammograms for women on Medicare. Her legislation to create Women’s Health Offices in five Federal agencies was included in the Affordable Care Act.
Delegate Hala Ayala – Panelist
A Lifelong Virginian, Delegate Hala Ayala was elected to the House of Delegates in 2017 and currently represents the 51st district which covers parts of Prince William County. Hala is the daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and an Irish and Lebanese mother. She has worked as a cyber security specialist for over 20 years with the Department of Homeland Security to protect our nation’s information systems. Hala has also been a women’s rights activist for over a decade. She was the president of Prince William County National Organization for Women, appointed by Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Women’s Advisory
Council, and in 2017, she helped organize Virginia’s attendance at the first Women’s March in Washington. As a Delegate, Hala has worked to pass some of Virginia’s most important pieces of legislation like expanding Medicaid for 400,000 Virginians, raising teacher pay, passing the Equal Rights Amendment and expanding background checks to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Hala is running for Lieutenant Governor because she understands our Commonwealth, its history, its challenges, its many opportunities and wants to ensure every Virginian has the opportunity to succeed.
Carol Jenkins – Panelist
Carol Jenkins is President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s
Equality, sister organizations dedicated to the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment. A board member since its inception in 2014, she joined the leadership team in December of 2018.
Previously, Carol Jenkins was founding president of The Women’s Media Center, a national nonprofit organization created to increase coverage and participation of women in media. As president, she conceived the Progressive Women’s Voices program to provide media training for women and girls, and she expanded SheSource, the largest portfolio of women experts in the country.
As former chair and current board member of Amref Health Africa USA, an arm of the largest health NGO in Africa, Ms. Jenkins is engaged in efforts to support health programs for African women and girls. She also serves on the boards of several feminist leadership organizations as well as groups supporting the arts, excellence in journalism, and international animal rights.
Carol Jenkins earned a B.A. from Boston University and an M.A. from New York University. Both universities honored her as a Distinguished Alumna. She holds honorary doctorates from the College of New Rochelle and Marymount Manhattan College. She was a 2017 recipient of the Sackler First Award, given to women who are pioneers in their fields.
As a pioneering African American television reporter, Jenkins was an anchor and correspondent for WNBC TV in New York for nearly 25 years. She hosted Carol Jenkins Live, her own daily talk show, on WNYW-TV. Early in her career she co-hosted one of the first daily public affairs programs in New York City, Straight Talk on WOR-TV; and co-hosted Positively Black for WNBC TV, one of the earliest television programs dedicated to Black issues in the United States.
Ms. Jenkins is also an author, the three-time NY Emmy-nominated host of Black America, on CUNY TV, the executive producer, writer and documentary correspondent of an award-winning film, a podcast host, and co-anchor of CUNY TV’s live election night coverage.
Belan Yeshigeta – Panelist
Belan Yeshigeta is a co-founder and Executive Director of national youth-led organization Generation Ratify. Generation Ratify is dedicated to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, advancing gender equality legislation across the country, and giving young people the tools they need to become effective advocates and organizers. Although still in high school, Belan is committed to using her voice and resources to continue this work and move towards a better future for all.
Kathleen Murphy – Co-facilitator
Kathleen Murphy has over 20 years of communications experience ranging from public policy advocacy to marketing, development, visual design, and media relations. She is the principal of MKMurphy Design, working with nonprofits, political candidates, labor unions, and small businesses. Past positions include communications director for the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, creative director for Children’s Home Society, and director of public policy advocacy for Midwest Health Center for Women, where she lobbied for reproductive rights and women’s health for 10 years. She has been working on the Equal Rights Amendment since she first testified on it in the Minnesota Senate in 2001. In 2009, she founded the organization called the Constitutional Amendment For Equality (CAFE) Coalition (because 10 years ago no one wanted to discuss the ERA). This effort turned into ERA Minnesota where she led the effort to get the MN state ERA passed through the House in 2019. Kathleen is a 20-year member of Minnesota NOW and is currently the vice president of the state chapter.
Dr. Tyffani Monford Dent – Co-facilitator
Dr. Tyffani Monford Dent is a licensed psychologist, trainer, and author. Her primary areas of interests are sexual violence prevention and intervention on the continuum, the role of intersectionality in the lives of Black and Brown girls/women, racial trauma & radical healing, social justice work within the mental health profession, and culturally-informed work with those within the juvenile justice and Child Welfare systems. She has been featured on local and national news programs addressing the importance of emotional wellness in Black communities, mental health in times of national crisis, and the school-to-prison pipeline’s impact on Black Girls.
Dr. Dent is the Owner of Monford Dent Consulting & Psychological Services, LLC through which she provides ongoing mental health consultation, trainings, and assessments. In 2020, she co-founded Centering Sisters, LLC, an organization dedicated to projects that center the needs of Black Women, Girls, and Femmes.
Dr. Dent serves on the Board of Black Women’s Blueprint and proudly identifies herself as “A Black Psychologist For The Culture”.