Self-empowerment. Sisterhood. Service.



Posted by WOMA on March 21, 2011 at 6:19 AM

On March 19, 2011, WOMA hosted an event, in conjunction with the District of Columbia (DC) Public Library, entitled WOMANIFESTING IN ACTION, in honor of our 1st anniversary and Women’s History Month. The event was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and brought together local women leaders to share how they use collaboration, community building, and social activism to further their causes and to make a difference. It was a well-attended event with a fair share of men in the audience supportive of the spirit of womanifesting.

The event opened with a welcome from Kathy Jenkins, Manager of the Popular Division, DC Public Library. She spoke of her excitement of partnering with WOMA to bring the event and looked forward with great anticipation of doing more collaborations in the future. Kathy also expressed passionately her vision of the library as a central and neutral meeting place for diverse groups to connect and broaden their circles based on shared interests. Next, Tracy Chiles McGhee, Founder & Executive Director of WOMA, welcomed everyone, explained the definition of womanifesting and promised that several examples would be witnessed at the the event through a conversation with the panelists who epitomize the definition.

One of the highlights of the event came when Yasmine Arrington, a local DC high school student, delivered a riveting "Call to Action" speech to the attendees.Yasmine spoke with great wisdom and clarity of purpose. She uplifted and inspired the audience with her mandate that we not be stingy with our gifts but instead share them by making a difference in the lives of others. As a surprise to Yasmine, Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 of the Council of the District of Columbia presented her with a resolution from the Council honoring her in essence for her outstanding accomplishments, for taking the initiative to establish a scholarship fund for aspiring students with incarcerated parents called ScholarCHIPS, and for being an excellent role model to youth and an inspiration to us all.

After Yasmine effectively set the tone for the event, the moderators, Marita Golden, Acclaimed Author & Master Teacher (pictured to left above) and Nikita T. Mitchell, a young professional and Writer (pictured to right above) introduced the panel and got the discussion going. Both Marita and Nikita did an excellent job in facilitating the informative interchange. Each panelist brought a unique perspective to the table, discussing a range of causes from HIV/AIDS issue advocacy for women to the use of art to promote peace and social justice to "digital sisterhood" to build relationships and deepen impact to the theatrical storytelling of women to claim our place, voice, and awesomeness to the importance of the community coming together to ensure safe places where children can play and learn and have fun. All were passionate and had big dreams for their endeavors. There was a general consensus that in order to realize those dreams, collaboration through a pooling of resources and innovative ideas and unique offerings coupled with a willingness to support one another is crucial.

Members of the audience asked questions and spoke of being inspired to raise their level of involvement and to offer support. One said, "Great event today! I hope that these events continue! I look forward to participating!" Another said, "This was such a moving event. I learned so much and I was touched by these women." Still another said, "The entire panel was very informative. Truly blessed by the knowledge that has been provided here today." Finally, one young lady summed it up, "FABULOUS!"

Tracy closed by offering WOMA as a platform to do just that and invited everyone to become a member of WOMA to continue the conversation and the work. Then to conclude the event, a lucky audience member received a copy of Marita Golden's latest book entitled, "THE WORD: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing Edited by Marita Golden"and admittance to WOMA's Annual Award event to be held in June 2011.


WOMA sincerely appreciates all the contributors for sharing their brilliance with us and showing us what WOMANIFESTING IN ACTION looks like. We ask that you support the worthwhile missions of WOMA, the moderators, and the panelists. You can learn more about them from their bios below and by visiting their websites. Please check the WOMA calendar for upcoming events. Your presence will be most appreciated.

WOMA would like to thank all that contributed to the event including a lively audience. In addition to the above mentioned participants, a special thank you goes to the following:



CO-PLANNERS, Kathy Jenkins, DC Public Library, Lindsay Young, and Samantha Kirby Caruth; PRESENTER: Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser; SPONSOR: Kimberly A. Woodard;  VOLUNTEERS: Enchanta Jackson, Sasha Ariel Alston, and Takeyah Young & SUPPORTERS: Divine Chocolate, Josephine Bias Robinson and Carolyn Woodson



Marita Golden (http://maritagolden.com/)

Marita Golden is the award-winning author of 14 works of fiction and nonfiction. As a teacher of writing, Marita Golden has held appointments at George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as a member of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing programs. She has also taught at Emerson College, The University of Lagos (Nigeria), Roxbury Community College, and American University. She served as Writer in Residence at the University of the Districtof Columbia, in Washington, D.C. Marita Golden has lectured on the topic ofliterature, women’s studies, African-American Studies and African American literature nationally and internationally.

As a literary activist, Marita Golden founded and served as the first president of the Washington-D.C. based African-American Writers Guild. In 1990 she co-founded the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, which presents the nation’s only national fiction award for college writers of African descent and an annual summer writer’s workshop for Black writers, Hurston/Wright Writers’ Week, as well as the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for published Black writers. She now serves as President Emeritus of the organization. Marita Golden holds a B.A. from American University in American Studies and English and a Masters Degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

Nikita T. Mitchell (http://nikitatmitchell.com/blog), Twitter: @NikitaTMitchell

Nikita T. Mitchell is a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting, providing facilitation, communications, strategic planning, organizational strategy, performance measurement, business case analysis and financial management services to her federal clients. A graduate of Howard University, Nikita earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) in International Business with a concentration in Finance. During her four years at Howard, she held various leadership positions on campus, studied abroad in France and worked in the financial services industry – both in New York City and in London. 


Nikita is a passionate and involved member of her community, dedicating asignificant amount of her time to local non-profits committed to youth and women. As a Board Member for the Cultural Academy for Excellence, a localnon profit committed to the development of youth through the performing arts,Nikita continues her early and engaging leadership. She also works with the DC Rape Crisis Center as a counselor on the 24-hour hotline and as an advocate for sexual assault survivors in local hospitals. 


In her spare time, Nikita can be found with her head in a book. She has aninnate passion for professional and personal development. She loves social media, writing, and traveling. She dreams of one day running a travel program for young women that promotes cultural education, self-esteem building andacademic achievement.




Yasmine Arrington, local high school student credited with starting a ScholarCHIPS for aspiring college students with incarcerated parents. (http://www.facebook.com/scholarCHIPS)

Yasmine Arrington is a senior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. She is a published and award winning poet.Yasmine has recently earned her Girl Scout Gold Award-the highest communityservice award in Girl Scouting! She lives with her grandmother and two younger brothers, Gary and Michael. Her mother died her freshman year of high schooland her father is currently incarcerated. Despite these setbacks, Yasmine has taken life’s challenges in stride. She has launched her own non-profit entitled ScholarCHIPS (for Children of Incarcerated Parents). ScholarCHIPS is raising $30,000 to gift three graduating seniors with incarcerated parents, who wish to pursue a college degree, with $10,000 each.


Patricia Nalls, Founder & Executive Director, The Women's Collective, 2010 Washingtonian of the Year (www.womenscollective.org)

Patricia Nalls founded The Women’s Collective after several years of living in isolation about her own HIV diagnosis. Patricia committed herself to finding, supporting and organizing women with HIV/AIDS. At first it was from her kitchen table, then from acommunity space and now from offices on U Street with several integral programs for women living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS and families. Unfortunately, her journey, although wonderful, also contains the memories and pain from losing many sisters along the way to the disease. Each day, she recommits herself to the struggle and she is energized by the work she and others have accomplished in combined efforts.


Carrie L. Ellis, Director of Project Management, KaBOOM! & Board Chair, Teaching for Change

Carrie L. Ellis is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta,GA where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.  Following her undergraduate studies, Carrie moved to California to teach middle school English and Mass Media in LosAngeles through the Teach For America program. She was inspired to pursue a master’s degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California, where she concentrated in Educational Children’s Media.  Once she graduated, Carrie headed to Washington, DC to work for several years on the national staff of Teach For America.

In 2005, Carrie joined the staff of KaBOOM! as the Directorof Project Management, a national nonprofit that creates play spaces throughthe participation and leadership of communities.  Every year, her team oversees the planningand installation of over 200 community-built play spaces throughout NorthAmerica.  Carrie also serves as the Chairof the Board for Teaching for Change, a nonprofit that provides teachers and parents with the tools to transform schools into centers of justice for students.


Jessica T. Solomon, Founder, The Saartjie Project & ChiefVisionary Officer, Spark Creativity (http://sparkcreativity.info)

As a community artist, Jessica T. Solomon, founded The Saartjie Project,an award-winning theatre ensemble using story and collaborative performance as a vehicle to promote social change. Jessica also serves as a member of the Connectivity Committee at The Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, DC.She views her work in the performing arts as an extension of her work as an Organization Development practitioner. As a capacity builder and organization development practitioner, Jessica has worked internationally with universities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, creative businesses and individuals to increase impact + uncover solutions. Jessica holds a B.A.’s in African American Studies and Communication Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a M.S. in Organization Development from American University. She is the 2007 Starting Bloc for Social Innovation Fellow and the 2009 American University Hal Kellner Awardee.

Marielle Mariano, East Coast Coordinator, Chalk4Peace (chalk4peace.org)

Marielle Mariano is an art educator, art therapist, East Coast Coordinator of the non-profit organization CHALK4PEACE,Inc., and a fine artist. Since graduating from Georgetown University in ’93, working in the medical sciences and then graduating with a Master of Science in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School in ‘99, Marielle has chosen to commit herself to using the creative process to help heal and better others’experiences. She has encouraged them to do so through her work in art education and art therapy in Fairfax County Public Schools and her work with CHALK4PEACE,coordinating outdoor chalk art events that encourage international peace expression and education in a variety of communities around the world. Marielle is passionate about C4P because she feels it challenges people to not just create a visual representation of one’s idea and wish for peace, but to also make peace an active part of one’s life in the hopes that it will spread to others. 

Ananda Leeke,Founder of Digital Sisterhood Month & Author of upcoming memoir (www.anandaleeke.com)

Yoga+ Creativity + Internet Geek = Ananda Leeke. Leeke is a lawyer turned “Jill ofmany trades”: innerpreneur, author, artist, coach, and yoga teacher. Hermission is “Empowering U2BU through creativity coaching, Reiki, self-care,social media, volunteerism, and yoga.”  She has penned That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’sPoetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (2009) and her debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One(2007). In December 2010, she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network and Digital Sisterhood Month to give women in social media an opportunity to celebrate their connections, conversations, communities, collaborative partnerships, and commerce. She traveled to Haiti as a blogger ambassador for The Heart of Haiti Campaign, a partnership between Macy's, Fairwinds Trading, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund in February. Currently, Leeke is working with wounded warriors as an artist-in-residence for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts at the National Navy Medical Center and writing Digital Sisterhood, a memoir (2011). 



Categories: WOMA Civic & Cultural Development, Up With The Cause, She is SO WOMA

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