This Black History Month, We’re Turning Advocacy into Action

This featured guest piece is an excerpt of our February 2024 newsletter.

Dear Colleagues:

Happy February! This month we celebrate Black History Month and a unique occurrence – a leap year! What will you do with your extra day?

As the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW), and a Black woman living and working in Massachusetts, I reflect on the importance of Black History Month in terms of lessons learned and how they shape our collective future. While there is much to be proud of, we still have a long way to go. 

I am proud to have been the first Black woman to Chair the Commission. I truly believe that when our Commission reflects the beauty and diversity of our state, we are better positioned to carry out our mission – to elevate the status of women and girls across the Commonwealth.

As the President & CEO of the Boston Arts Academy Foundation, I understand how the many threads of our lives intersect when relating to public policy and community development. That’s why I’m proud to be the Chairwoman of the MCSW’s new Scholarship program, a financial empowerment program recently launched by the MCSW in honor of our 25th Anniversary.

The new scholarship program will aim to support emerging woman leaders of the Commonwealth in continuing their education journey to leadership and economic empowerment. Designed to support nontraditional woman-identifying students already enrolled in a Massachusetts Public Higher Education Institution, scholarships will be available to help an individual complete their degree. The MCSW will award 5 individuals with a scholarship of $5000 each for the 2024-2025 academic year.

And so this year, I call on all of us to think creatively about new ways to meet the challenges of tomorrow. If we work together, we can increase awareness of key programs and resources, and build a pathway for future women advocates to aid in our collective power to shed light on issues (and solutions) pertaining to advancement of the girls of the commonwealth.

Take action this Spring: 

  1. Share our new scholarship opportunity with someone you know trying to finish their degree.
  2. Encourage a young person 14-22 to sign up for our Girls Empowerment (GELI) Program.
  3. Make a financial contribution in support of youth and adult programming at the MCSW today.

You don’t have to be Black to celebrate BHM and embrace the impact Black leaders and organizers have had on the daily lives, protections, and rights for people regardless of color, race, sex, or culture.

Together we can reflect, celebrate, and most of all, take action.

Yours in Solidarity,

Commissioner Denella Clark

Chair of the MCSW Scholarship Committee