A group of Brockton women wants to make sure the accomplishments of local women — particularly women of color — will be celebrated and remembered.
The Brockton Area Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is starting a committee to connect, advance, celebrate, and support women. Courtney Henderson, 23, by far the youngest member of the Brockton branch, has been named chair the Women in NAACP, or WIN, committee.
“This is the year of the women,” said Phyllis Ellis, the branch’s president. Since she became president last year, female membership has increased. Other branches have WIN committees, and Ellis couldn’t imagine a better time to start one in Brockton.
Women helping women, Henderson said, leads to positive role models and tangible impacts for young women and the community.
“A lot of my own influences and inspirations come from women,” Henderson said. “I always had a passion for politics and I wanted to see more women — especially women of color — in political offices and leadership positions.”
Henderson, a Quincy resident who majored in political science at Fisk University in Nashville and works as a paralegal, said she wants to create a support system for women in Brockton to boost their skills and network with other women in the community in areas not limited to health, politics, and law.
“I think it’s really important that we have this committee, because we need the advancement of women,’’ she said. “We also need diversity in the workplace. I want to make this committee a platform for women to make their voices heard.”
One of the things she’s excited about is a local Miss NAACP pageant. The pageant would invite local college women to compete for scholarships. Contestants would be judged based on their commitment to community service, the growth of women, and civil rights. There will be a beauty element involved, said Henderson, but it will look past sparkly gowns, curled hair, and false eyelashes to focus on “inner beauty.”
She’s also working on ways to connect business and community leaders with women they can mentor through community service, free workshops, and classes.
Through these workshops, Henderson also wants to ensure knowledge is shared and spread throughout the community.
“I believe knowledge is power,” she said. “Some of these workshops can help [women] move around better in society. When they learn, they pass it on to someone else. Knowledge can be spread anywhere.”
In particular, she mentioned classes in self-defense and financial literacy, as well as self-esteem workshops. All of this, Henderson said, is to give local women the connections, skills, and confidence to lift each other up.
“When we have confidence, we are better servants to ourselves and our community,” she said.
Details about the WIN Committee and how to join it will be discussed at the next NAACP branch meeting Monday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m., at the Messiah Baptist Church, 80 Legion Parkway. The branch meets on the fourth Monday of every month.
Morgan Hughes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.