“ALL ISSUES ARE WOMENS’ ISSUES!!! ALL ISSUES ARE WOMENS’ ISSUES” NYC Councilmember Helen Rosenthal rallied the troops at the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference for CUNY at Hunter College during the breakout session. She encouraged the audience to get involved and stand together. Remember, any issue is a women’s issue because one way or another, all issues affect women.
Councilwoman Rosenthal spoke about how the women’s caucus stood together. They checked on each other and explained how a simple text message, during a rough day, was all she needed to keep her head in the game.
The councilmembers supported the idea of being there for each other: building each other up, not tearing each other down. They encouraged comradery amongst fellow students, co-workers, teammates, etc.
The councilmembers spoke about violence, poverty, harassment, homelessness, and education. Students asked questions regarding everything from returning to work after reporting harassment, to finding your voice when feeling outnumbered in a meeting. Students also brought up questions about homelessness and menstrual equality.
Councilmember Carlina Rivera from District 2 spoke about taxes on feminine hygiene products and their availability in high schools and middle schools. She spoke of making statements and not being acknowledged or given credit from ideas made in meetings only to have her ideas repeated by a male counterpart who is then given credit. There are only thirteen female council members. There are fifty-one members of the New York City Council.
Alicka Aspry Samuel Council Member of District 41 spoke of shootings in her district. An outspoken advocate for her community and eloquent motivator. She talked about how she drove thirteen hours to reach the floor to cast her vote. Councilmember Aspry-Samuel spoke about opportunities in her district. Her sense of humor, her spirit, and her commitment to her district was beloved by the audience.
Adrienne Adams from District 28 spoke about gang violence and the importance of being part of a community board. Councilmember Adams reminded the audience of women that the support from her other councilmembers, even during a personnel crisis such as major surgery or an infirmed family member, was uplifting and empowering. All councilmembers encouraged and stressed the importance of being a cohesive entity in the city council.
During an intense discussion regarding homeless students and menstrual equity, Councilmembers Rivera and Rosenthal came up with the idea of presenting a bill for CUNY to supply feminine hygiene products in restrooms. Councilmember Adams said, “and there you go, that’s how you make things happen! Please get involved. Even in a PTA, a school board, a community board, get involved in what matters to you! That is how we all got here.”