Protecting women, girls in spotlight

Members of the CSWG committees.
Photo Submitted by Oldens Lafortune.

The topic of protection for women and girls seems to be an ongoing discussion in America, but in Tallahassee, a group of women aim to make this issue more than just a conversation.

On Friday, advocates, leaders of organizations, and listeners came together to discuss and plan upcoming events that would bring light to this particular topic.

The Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women & Girls met at the Oasis Center for Women and Girls to discuss community conversations, hate crime laws, and updates on events all concerning the violence and safety of women.

Michelle Gomez, executive director of the Oasis Center, suggested that it is time that the topic of women’s safety switches narratives geared toward protection of women.

“It might very well be time to shift the conversation from she was a prostitute to she was being trafficked,” Gomez said. “That is an inaccurate portrayal of the situations these women deal with.”

The CSWG is a citizens advisory committee to the City and County Commissions dedicated to the health, education, economic security, violence and safety prevention of women.

Dhyana Ziegler, former interim dean of FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, chairs the statewide commission.

Meagan Reynolds, a psychology student at FSU who was attending the meeting for her class, feels that this committee’s importance goes unseen and should be highlighted more.

During the meeting, the Violence and Safety Committee of the CSWG discussed an upcoming event in partnership with the United Partners for Human Services. This meeting’s sole purpose is to start a community conversation about the most common barriers faced by women and girls in the community.

The partnering events with the UPHS is also a networking opportunity, giving those who attend the opportunity to connect other agencies and women who have common interest.

“I envision something on a smaller scale, something a little more intimate to make sure that we’re getting to those issues where we can decide how we want to move forward in addressing some of the issues that the people on the frontline are seeing,” CSWG chair Antoneia Roe said.

CSWG recently held an event geared toward the #Metoo Movement that was a public hearing on economic security for local women and girls. The event also provided the launching of a database to “share with the community as to connect women as resources,” as its website stated.