The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women (ECCSW) is proud to host the NACW annual conference and empowerment summit this year. It will be held from Thursday, July 13, through until Saturday, July 15, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center in Buffalo. This year’s conference theme, Embracing Our Past: Empowering Our Future, is a perfect theme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York State.
The conference will kick off on Thursday, July 13th, with a panel discussion about the history of women’s suffrage followed by our first keynote speaker Dr. Shannon M. Risk, historian and associate professor at Niagara University. Dr. Risk’s lecture, entitled “New York State and the Legacy of Women’s Suffrage,” will revisit the impact of local suffragist efforts and their enduring influence.
Speakers and activities on Friday will assess women’s status in the present. Panels will cover topics ranging from women in leadership, politics, and the media, to economic justice, women’s healthcare, and advocating for women. Additionally, Dr. Evelyn Murphy and Amanda Nguyen will serve as Friday’s keynote speakers. Dr. Murphy is the founder and president of The WAGE Project, Inc., a grassroots organization dedicated to combating the gender wage gap and is the former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. She will be presenting new data on the pay gap and discussing new strategies for addressing this issue. Amanda Nguyen is president and founder of the national civil rights nonprofit group, Rise Up, which successfully passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights through the United States Congress in 2016. Her keynote will address the value of collective impact advocacy.
A focus on women’s future characterizes the activities and panels on Saturday’s agenda. Panelists will address brand building and social media, violence against women, and the status of the female refugee community. In addition to these panels, the conference will also be hosting a girls’ summit which will focus on the social, political, and economic empowerment of our local girls. Scholarships will be available for students who are interested in attending. Sara Emhof will be the keynote speaker for Saturday. Sara is the Senior Program Manager for the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging students to democratically participate in society, and will be speaking about the value of engaging youth in the political process.