There are reasons to be hopeful, despite the unprecedented challenges we face. That was the message at the National Partnership for Women & Families’ Gala Dinner, held at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Wednesday night. The event honored U.S. Senator Kamala Harris for being a champion for women and families. The National Partnership has been working for more than 45 years to make the country more healthy, fair and family friendly for women and all people.
“Senator Harris blazed a trail for women in law enforcement as attorney general in California and now she is fighting for women and families as a U.S. senator,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness, recounting two recent moments when the senator’s male colleagues interrupted her and one told her to be more courteous. “Tonight, we honor Senator Harris for her tremendous contributions and because she is bold, smart, powerful and passionate – and, by the way, unfailingly courteous. She is one reason that I have so much hope for the future.”
Hundreds of women’s and progressive leaders, legal and corporate supporters, and activists turned out to celebrate Senator Harris. The senator discussed the progress women have made and the need to continue to show courage during challenging times.
Other speakers included Ellen Malcolm, chair of the boards of directors of EMILY’s List and the National Partnership, and the Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak, who emceed the event. In her remarks, Ness criticized lawmakers for attacking women’s health, equity and economic security – from draconian budget cuts to attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, defund Planned Parenthood, gut Medicaid and more. She highlighted how paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, fair wages, health care and reproductive justice are essential to women’s ability to thrive and fully participate in society.
“When I think of the current landscape,” Ness said, “I think of a woman standing atop a Jenga game – each piece is a medical bill, a sick family member, an unplanned pregnancy. Most women and families are just one piece away from toppling, and the reckless, cruel policies we face are a gravitational force begging towers to fall. But this isn’t a game. We all deserve policies that support instead of topple our lives. We’re taking back our destiny, fighting every day to put the issues that matter to women and families front and center and to secure a better future for all. And we’re having an impact.”
Photos, videos and more from the event will be available at NationalPartnership.org/Event.
About the National Partnership
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.