Welcome to “13 Reasons to Celebrate!”

A Note from the Executive Director

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues, Survivors, and Supporters,

It is with great honor that I welcome you to 13 Reasons to Celebrate!

We made it! We are together, here in the community, on this special occasion to celebrate countless things. Thank you for joining us! It’s our 13th birthday, and we’ve been busy cooking up some wonderful resources and innovations; for the women of color whom we serve, for service providers, and for community members who seek to do better at caring for one another and providing better support and services to those who have experiences harm, especially for black and indigenous people of color, across the diaspora, who have historically, been the most marginalized.

For this celebration, fundraiser, and community outreach event, we poured our hearts and many hours into planning an intentional, thoughtful, fun, and uplifting evening. Tonight we hope to illustrate who we are, the gaps and needs of our communities that we hope to fill, and our values as a team.

Our members have stated that when in MAWOCN spaces, they experience a range of positive emotions and feelings; they feel welcomed, seen, loved, respected, encouraged, etc. As we welcome you into our space tonight, we genuinely hope that you have a good experience.

For the safety and considerations needed for creating culturally specific spaces and resources, our events and training are usually only open to women of color working or volunteering in the sexual and domestic violence movement. This evening is the first time since our inception that MAWOCN has held an in-person gathering, where we are joined by survivors, community leaders, change-makers, allies, loved ones of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and of course, different lived experiences from across Massachusetts and beyond our borders! What a profound and significant moment this is?! Our team is thrilled to host everyone tonight, and we extend a big MAWOCN warm welcome to you! We appreciate your efforts 

As we celebrate tonight, we must also acknowledge those who are no longer with us due to violence. We will continue to be bold in our work toward ending violence. Thanks again, for your support. Please eat, relax, and enjoy the program!

Our 13 Reasons to Celebrate

Happy 13th Birthday to the Massachusetts Women of Color Network, Inc!

Tonight’s Happenings…

6:15 PM Doors Open

Welcome to our first annual fundraiser! Check-in, register, receive a nametag, consent or opt-out for photos, purchase raffle tickets, and get ready to celebrate!

6:30- 7:10 PM Enjoy Event Attractions

Visit the Auction Item Tables around the event. Purchase tickets to enter the raffle!

Browse the venue and enjoy capturing moments in the 360 Photo Booth!

Enjoy the DELICIOUS spread from one of Boston’s Best Caribbean Fusion Restaurants Serving Unmistakable, Latin, & Asian fusion flavors: Zaz Restaurant & Catering LLC.

Enjoy Music from DJ WhySham: “From The 617 To Your BackYard” is a 4x Nominated DJ, Producer, and Songwriter from Boston, MA. In 2021, she was the only womxn nominated for Producer of The Year and was chosen to be one of WBUR’s ‘The Artery 25’ Greater Boston artists of color who stand out for the work they are making. WhySham is dedicated to promoting the health and wellness of creatives using art and music as a tool for social justice. She believes in bringing music, hardship, and pain together while creating events for collective trauma.

7:10 PM Opening Remarks

1st Welcome Address

Executive Director, Kishana Smith

7:20- 8:00 PM Enjoy Event Attractions

8:00 PM Seated Program Begins

Meet Our Guest MCs

Co-MC, Danielle Johnson (SparkFM Online)

Danielle Johnson, widely known as Ms. HotSauce, has encompassed the essence of her stage name, combining her fun-loving appeal and fiery sense of humor to any stage, Room,  and/or airwaves. Born in Massachusetts, 39-year-old HotSauce is a mom, a radio personality, a speaker, MC, and a creator. In 2020 Danielle Launched the First Black Female Owned Digital Radio station in Boston, Spark FM. She has been featured in Boston Magazine as one of Boston’s 150 most influential people in 2022 and 2023. Spark FM Online is a national digital radio station amplifying, and empowering the underserved voice of the urban and Caribbean community. Website:Mshotsauce2u.com   SPARK FM: sparkfmonline.com Social Media: @mshotsauce2u @sparkfmonline Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/danielle-johnson-abaa2926

Co-MC, Tayla Andre (SparkFM Online

Tayla Andre is a real estate agent and financial literacy educator in Boston, Massachusetts. She has been in the real estate industry for over 8 years and has helped hundreds of clients buy and sell homes. She is also the author of the book “Finally, Home: The Step-by-Step Guide for People Preparing for First-Time Homeownership,” which is available in English and Spanish. Tayla is passionate about helping people achieve their financial goals. She believes everyone deserves the opportunity to build wealth and that financial literacy is the key to financial success. She is committed to providing accessible and affordable financial education to everyone, regardless of income or background. In her free time, Tayla enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and volunteering in her community. She is also a passionate advocate for social justice and equality. Tayla is a valuable asset to the Boston real estate community and is committed to helping her clients achieve their goals. She is a knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate agent dedicated to providing her clients with the best possible service and is committed to helping them achieve their goals. Website: taylaandre.com Social Media:@taylaandre

8:15 PM Welcome Address and MAWOCN Board Introduction

Meet Our Board of Directors

Lovern Gordon
Co-Chair of the Board of Directors
Josephine Pang Co-Chair of the Board of Directors
Co-chair of Administration and Finance Circle: Deborah Collins
Co-chair of Community Care & Connection: Circle:
Trudy Benoit
Co-chair of
Training & Technical Assistance Circle:
Dr. Jean Clarke-Mitchell
Co-chair of
Communications & Fundraising Circle:
Isa Woldeguiorguis
Board Member:
Hema Sarang-Sieminski
Board Member:
Asia Thompson
Board Member:
P. Falasha Harrison
Board Member:
Desiree Marie Headley
Board Member:
Marienelly Vazquez
Executive Director:
Kishana Smith
8:25 PM Performance

Grateful Queen

8:30 PM Inaugural Address

Executive Director, Kishana Smith

8:45 PM Award Presentation- Founders Award

The Founders Award

This award represents the fundamentals necessary for visioning and creating meaningful solutions to community issues. In June 2023, this award is given to 7 women of color for visioning and creating meaningful solutions to community issues, especially for their co-creation of the Massachusetts Women of Color Network in 2010 and its early years. 

The Seven Founders Are

Kourou Pich

Shakira Cruz Román

Paula Gomez-Stordy

Vilma Martinez-Dominguez

Sabrina Santiago

Katia Santiago- Taylor

Isa Woldeguiorguis

9:00 PM Award Presentation- Mary Church Terrell Award

The Mary Church Terrell: Lifting as We Climb Award 

“And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires burst into glorious fruition ere long.”

This award is given to an individual who continues to look onward and upward, striving towards their personal and professional goals while passing along knowledge, support, and resources, to those alongside them and others who look to them for support.

In June 2023, we present this award to two influential leaders of color:

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea J. Campbell and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is an activist, a legislator, a survivor, and the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Throughout her career, Congresswoman Pressley has fought to ensure that those closest to the pain are closest to the power – driving and informing policymaking. In Congress, she has been a champion for justice and healing: reproductive justice, justice for immigrants, consumer justice, justice for seniors, justice for workers, justice for survivors of sexual violence, justice for formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, and healing for those who have experienced trauma. She has also turned her experience living with alopecia into action, becoming a leading voice fighting to raise awareness and support for the alopecia community across the nation.

Congresswoman Pressley currently serves on the House Committee on Financial Services. Prior to being elected to Congress, she served on the Boston City Council for eight years and was the first woman of color elected to the council in its 100-year history.

9:15 PM Performance

Tracy Walker

9:30 PM Keeping Black Survivors Alive Cohort
Keeping Black Survivors Alive Premiere Video
9:45 PM Performance

Grateful Queen

10:00 PM Raffle Tables CLOSE

10:00 PM Award Presentation- Irvienne Goldson Award

Presented by MAWOCN Board Member, Trudy Benoit

The Irvienne Goldson: Community, Care, and Connection Award

This award is given with gratitude to a “Hidden Shero” who embodies the heart of a servant within their community, caring about mental and physical wellness, and giving of their time and resources generously and graciously. This is a person who meets people where they are, authentically. They see the developing gifts in others and empower them with the courage and confidence to also serve in limitless ways. Through community service, this person carefully connects with people, creating relationships that put the “unity” in “community”.  

This individual leads boldly and imparts wisdom wherever they go, inspiring greatness in others by their example. This person Embodies Community, Care, and Connection. In the spirit and honor of our beloved “Community Queen”, Irevienne Goldson, we would like to “give them their flowers”.

The 2023 Nominees Are

Amonda Mitchell (she/her), VP of Intervention Services, New Hope Inc.

Chastity Bowick (she/her), CEO, Chastity Consulting & Talent Group, LLC. Community Engagement Director, Grants Coordinator, and “Former Executive Director,” of the Transgender Emergency Fund, Inc. 

Jassie Senwah (she/her), Director of Housing Services, Transition House, Inc.

Kadian Edobor (she/they), Community Activist and Leader

Nicole Flynt (she/her), Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher, Escape Image Consulting,  EICY12SR, CYT1000, Reiki Level 1

Nikia Bodden (she/her), Director of Transitional Living Programs, The Second Step, Inc.

Sandra Lee Elien (she/her), Domestic Violence Advocate and Counselor, HAVEN Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

Shabranae Patton (she/her), Executive Director, Anchor’d Inc Foundation. President, Anchor’d Inc Boutique

Shameka Gregory (she/her), Director of Equity and Justice, Transition House, Inc.

Shavon Williams (she/her), Senior Family Advocate at Riverside Community Care, Author, Domestic Violence Advocate, Liason, and Consultant

Tasha Kitty (she/her), CEO and President, SMART Startup HR, Co-owner, Body, Stone, and Soul

Venessa Rosemond (she/her), Director of Finance, Casa Myrna Inc.

Yoanna E. Hernandez (she/her), Intake Coordinator, Casa Myrna Inc.

Zahirah Nur Truth (she/her), Creative Visionary Officer, and Arts Education, ZNT Arts

A Special Appreciation to Our Sponsors

A Special Appreciation to the Venue

Envoy Hotel
Para Maria Restaurant

© 2020 Massachusetts Women of Color Network | All Rights Reserved.