Empowering Women

Mentorship group celebrates first graduates

WomenFirst, a grass-roots organization helping women rebuild their lives and gain support through peer mentorship, will host a public celebration on Saturday, March 3 for their first graduating class from a 12 week women empowerment group, called “I Love Me.”

The group places a special emphasis on helping women of color overcome the challenges that come with the stereotypes and prejudices they face in society.

Former State Sen. Margaret Carter, who was the first black woman elected to the Oregon’s Legislature in 1985 and retired from the Senate in 2009, will be the event’s guest speaker. Having overcome tremendous odds to carve a path of success herself, Carter came to Oregon from Louisiana as a single mother of five in 1967 with no job, nowhere to stay and struggling to make ends meet.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we honor the opportunity to be better stewards of the privileges we gained, create awareness for all people, highlight the best of black history and culture, and honor the historic leaders of the black community,” said Shannon Olive, WomenFirst founder and president.

Group members help each other tackle issues such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, gender wage gap, violence against women, poor treatment of women in prison, access to rehabilitation centers, and human trafficking/sex slavery. In coordination with the WomenFirst Transition and Referral Center, they also support women prisoner reentry, women in recovery, and those seeking any transformation in their lives

Life skills, community support, and referrals to resources for personal and professional development are cultivated in the organization, whose full name is WomenFirst Transition and Referral Center.

A new “I Love Me” 12 week women empowerment program will be open to incoming members starting March 22 at the Miracle Central Apartments where members will restore a path of empowerment by learning to love and value themselves.

The community is invited to join the “I Love Me” graduates at Saturday’s event, scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. at Curious Comedy Theatre, 5225 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. More information can be found at rebuildwomenfirst.org or email lovingyoufirst@yahoo.com.