by Carmille Lim, Development & Advocacy Manager
YWCA of O‘ahu
Although there are three YWCA associations in the state of Hawaii, we rarely get to see each other, let alone representatives from YWCAs in other states. So being able to connect with my colleagues from our state, the Pacific Region, and nationwide at the annual conference was an excellent reminder of the greater movement that I am a part of.
Two highlights from the three-day conference are: 1) Capitol Hill Day 2) Keynote speech from Vice President Joe Biden.
Hawaii is lucky enough to have all of its U.S. Senators and Representatives allies or the advancement and protection of women’s rights. Regardless, meeting with staff members from their offices to discuss issues that we support was an excellent learning experience.
The conference’s keynote speech from Vice President Joe Biden was a memorable experience. Seeing how passionate he was about protecting women’s safety – and women’s rights – firsthand gave me goosebumps. It was truly powerful to hear the importance of VAWA from its original author, first hand. The highlight for me, was hearing Vice President Joe Biden say: “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value.”
I appreciated and was inspired by the selection of panelists that followed our Capitol Hill Day experience. They updated us on the initiatives and legislation pieces that they were working on, and also gave us a “behind the scenes” look at the factors that affect the progress of our work to advance the status of women. I was particularly excited to see that the representatives from the Office of Public Engagement, as well as the Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration to the White House Domestic Policy Council, were closer to my age. It sent out a subtle, but powerful message that young women too can also speak knowledgably and confidently on the issues that affect the public.
Although I heard from a number of substantial panelists, I was a bit disappointed to see that none of them reflected my own race – Asian. Nor, did they refer to Asians during the dialogue on racism and racial class. Instead of seeing this as discouraging, however, I saw this as motivating — this was a reminder for me that (1) we have a lot of work to do to grow the Asian-identity community organizing movement, (2) we need to do better in encouraging more Asians to aspire and achieve leadership positions of institutions.
YWCA’s 2012 Annual Conference was memorable, and I truly appreciated the opportunity to represent the YWCA of O’ahu in it. I am ready to help “shake things up” next year!
As the development & advocacy manager for the YWCA of O‘ahu, Carmille is tasked with fundraising for its three locations, and developing the association’s new public policy and advocacy platform. Serving on the Hawai‘i State Commission on the Status of Women, Carmille is the youngest gubernatorial appointee; she has also been recently selected as one of “Pacific Business News’” 2012 Forty Under 40, which recognizes the state’s brightest young business professionals. For balance in her life, Carmille studies ballet and taekwondo.
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