Bronx, NY — Bronx Community College (BCC) and Sanctuary for Families will sponsor a panel discussion, “African Women’s Empowerment Day II (A.W.E. Day) on Thursday, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., December 8. BCC is located at West 181st Street and University Avenue. The discussion, which is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, willbe held in the Roscoe C. Brown Student Center / Room 207 & 208.
The purpose of the event is to focus attention on the experiences and perspectives of African — Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Ghana, and Guinea — women who have come to New York City in the last 10 years and are seeking to integrate and gain a foothold in the economy and achieve success. Community residents and people who work with African populations – social workers, lawyers, health workers, and educators – are invited to come and share their knowledge. Other groups sponsoring the panel discussion include Harlem United, Fidelis, Camba, Planned Parenthood, the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the New York City Police Department, all social service organizations.
“Bronx Community College has committed itself to developing a series of projects that focus on international issues. We recognize that our surrounding community has seen a significant increase in African families,” states BCC President Carolyn G. Williams. “Many of these families are in need of critically important social, education, housing, and employment services. The U.S. has always developed as a nation of immigrants. With some 400,000 immigrants in the Bronx—there is an increasing need for Bronx organizations and institutions to respond to the human needs of our newest immigrants.”
A.W.E. Day will offer a panel of African women speakers who will address how well African women are navigating the New York social and economic maze. While many African women are making strides in areas such as education and small business, others are finding themselves lost in a downward cycle of poverty. Increasing numbers of African women and their children are finding themselves without means for securing basic health care or other vitally needed services. Language barriers, cultural life styles, and the loss of traditional support system all add further complications.
Highlighting the importance of education, Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, whose 22-year-old son died tragically in the Bronx., will speak as an advocate of social justice, bringing attention to the need for more services for the increasing numbers of African families who are falling through New York’s social services safety net.
In the memory of her son, Ms. Diallo, who is president of The Amadou Diallo Foundation, has established a $30,000 Amadou Diallo Scholarship to be equally divided between Bronx Community College and Borough of Manhattan Community College. Amadou Diallo, who came here from Guinea, had one day hoped to attend college. More than 10 percent of Bronx Community College students are from African countries.
The panel will address the following obstacles to settling in New York:
- Health care barriers due to limited English skills, lack of resources and absence of health care insurance
- Health care providers who don’t understand individual African cultures and cannot communicate with patients
- Barriers of language to education, employment, housing politics and law
- Parents with limited English skills who are generally unable to assist their children with educational efforts
- Mental illness and depression due to stress, complexity of everyday life, racial discrimination and the lack of economic opportunities for adequate income
- An American lifestyle that often works against protective elements within individual African cultures that promote health status.
For more information, please call 289-5952