The Women’s Diversity Network (WDN) connects and mobilizes women of different backgrounds to create positive change through collective work and a unified sisterhood.
The goals of the Network are:
Educating our communities around issues and policies that challenge our unity
Advocating with women to break down barriers for improved inclusion and advocacy for all
Celebrating our diverse backgrounds
In order for us to realize these goals, the Network will engage in activities, create events and promote actions that:
Identify and provide services needed by women and their families
Investigate and research issues of concern to women and their families
Advocate for public policies at all levels of government that address women's issues
Long Island is an exceptionally diverse place but still incredibly segregated. Many of the organizations have shared goals and are doing parallel work, but have been
working separately. The Women’s Diversity Network aims to bring organizations and community members together to create positive changes through a more unified sisterhood.
WDN Founder, Shanequa Levin realized the need for a diversity event as she often found herself to be the only black woman surrounded by white women, or the room would be full of black women with no white women in sight. After the 2016 election, this segregation became more evident. Shanequa was ready to make change, but did not want to repeat past mistakes made in regards to diversity in the feminist
movement. Shanequa’s solution was to start off by celebrating our diversity, getting to know one another and becoming more comfortable with each other…then and only then could we use our power to take political action together. Shanequa discussed her idea with her trusted colleagues and received the support and encouragement needed. February 2017, the Women’s Diversity Network was born. In March of 2018, we held a sold out event. WDN is now comprised of many women from various communities and groups who are committed to WDN’s mission and goals. WDN has become a social movement organization practicing transformative justice processes based on group leadership where marginalized lives are centered.
Maternal & Infant Health, in particular Alarmingly High Maternal Death Rates:
Women in the United States are dying from childbirth-related complications, regardless of race, economics or location at an alarming rate. The United States’ maternal mortality rate ranks 47th among developed nations, and it’s even worse for women of color. African-American women are three times more likely than other women to die from childbirth-related complications.
Violence Against Women, in particular the National Rape Kit Backlog:
A sexual assault occurs every 98 seconds in the United States and 9 out 10 rape victims are female. After an assault, a rape kit can collect DNA evidence, which is a powerful tool in solving these crimes. However, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits remain untested in the United States. Most jurisdictions do not even have systems in place for counting or tracking these kits.
Racial bias & systemic racism
Racial Bias & Systemic Racism, in particular Bail & Sentencing Reform:
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Bail has become a form of wealth-based incarceration for unconvicted defendants that profits private bail insurance companies. Moreover, many “tough on crime” laws predate our better understanding of crime & punishment & recidivism are still on the books, leaving many non-violent offenders in prison for long or life sentences. This system disproportionately impacts young people, as well as the poor and people of color.