They certainly are: the IAMWOC shares the impact of military women of color and access to resources
When it comes to our armed forces, a considerable number of people take a moment to not just acknowledge their presence, but to thank them for their dedicated service. Likewise, a number of historical and contemporary reminders are present in looking at the impact made here and abroad.
However, at times, there are some narratives that may not be amplified to a similar level. And when it comes to the work of the International Association of Military Women of Color (referred to as the IAMWOC - click HERE to visit their website), their efforts to share the historical and present day stories of impact of black and brown women is the start of doing some empowering work (since their establishment on July 11, 2021).
In our interview with spokeswoman Rena Laster, it truly is an enriching conversation to make sure the phrase "Thank you for your service" better extends to this key demographic and beyond. Given the growing number of women in the military, reflected in areas including (but not limited to) the largest number of women graduating from West Point this year, their presence is here to stay and continue to expand (you may watch our full interview/conversation below):
The organization's underlying purpose and mission extend from the following key areas (and other related areas):
Enhancing education in communities while serving to make a difference in the lives of military women of color, veterans, and family members.
An emphasis on inspiring, empowering, ad mentoring via strategic partnerships and related collaborative efforts.
Continued advocacy for veteran women of color.
Continued elevation including leadership development and related key attributes (click HERE to visit their website and visit the "about" section for more details).
As a way of accentuating their work, they are hosting their inaugural conference in Atlanta, GA from July 11-15, 2023 (at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel). With a wide array of workshops, speakers, and related programming, emphasis is on providing access to resources along with heightened engagement for all attendees, patrons, and supporters/sponsors. Retired Command Sergeant Major Cassandra Odom, whose presentation "Boots to Heels" articulates the elements of transitioning from the military to civilian life), is among the speakers prepared to provide extensive insight on the areas of focus of the organization (click HERE for information on the conference).
With upcoming projects ranging from the HerStories series (collection of archival stories on the impact of black and brown women and having them available for youth placement such as local libraries and other venues), the ongoing education and awareness efforts are in full swing. Given the tremendous body of work and impact, it's among the means utilized to tell and share the story and be a resource for those in the military, those transitioning out, and those who can be motivated, encouraged, and inspired to live lives of positive impact in the military or their chosen vocation.
Making a difference is a phrase that is often heard; this week and beyond, the IAMWOC is doing that and more.