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More Than 200 Attend Human Rights Day In White Plains

Organizers and volunteers joined event speakers at the Dec. 10 YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester symposium on the "State of Women of Color."
Organizers and volunteers joined event speakers at the Dec. 10 YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester symposium on the "State of Women of Color." Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A Human Rights Day symposium Dec. 10 in White Plains drew over 200 people.

The YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester hosted the annual event where participants learned about the "State of Women of Color," this year’s theme.

Among speakers, County Executive Rob Astorino used the story of Malala Yousfzai to demonstrate the potential of women and girls, according to a release.

The keynote speaker Belinda Miles, president of Westchester Community College, spoke of the responsibility we all have to help others.

“We should lead by example, pave the way for the next generation and commit ourselves to opening doors of access and opportunity for our girls and women of color. Their future and our future depends on it," Miles said.

Dr. Jin Li, associate professor of clinical neurology at New York Medical College, talked about the health challenges many women face.

Though she noted progress, “Health is a critical component of women’s economic security and overall well-being. Poor health can pose obstacles to financial stability, educational attainment, and employment," Li said.

A YWCA USA 2015 report on racism says by the year 2050, women of color will constitute 53 percent of all women in the United States, yet they continue to be marginalized, according to the release.

Zenaida Mendez, director of Manhattan Neighborhood Network and a former president of the National Organization for Women in New York State, spoke about the marginalization of women of color.

Yet, demographically, Latinas are growing in numbers and should use that strength in numbers to their benefit, she said.

But she also cautioned, “Poverty is the greatest human rights issue,” reminding the audience of the purpose of the event.

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