Columbus – Yesterday, State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D - Columbus), Assistant Senate Democratic Leader, was the keynote speaker at the Women Coming Together: Celebrating International Women’s Day Luncheon at the Fawcett Center. The theme was “Equality: Make It Happen.” The event featured presentations of Starfish Awards, which honor five phenomenal women who are changing the world one person at a time.

Senator Tavares spoke about the need for more women to be active and engaged with their government. She highlighted disparate representation of women in Ohio’s General Assembly as a call to action. Currently, the Ohio General Assembly has only 34 female members out of 132, which is about 26 percent. The Ohio House of Representatives has only 27 women legislators out of 99, and the Ohio Senate has a mere seven members out of 33. Approximately 52 percent of Ohio residents are women, yet women only hold 26 percent of the seats in the Ohio Legislature.

The numbers are even worse when it comes to African American women. In Ohio’s 213 year history as a state, only 24 African American women have ever been elected or appointed to the Ohio General Assembly.

Senator Tavares also discussed areas in which women are making gains and challenged the women to blaze new trails.

“I believe we must encourage, support and lift up women to go beyond the status quo,” Senator Tavares stated. “We should open new doors, blaze new paths, and explore new horizons. We need our perspective and voice at the tables of power to ensure our issues are addressed.”

Women Coming Together, a collective of women’s organizations who advocate for women’s health concerns, has provided a conference to address health issues that affect ethnic and cultural communities in Columbus since 1994.

 
 
 
  
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Mental illnesses are sometimes crippling disorders that affect the lives of millions of Americans and oftentimes go unannounced because of the stigma associated with them.

Join me in spreading the word about “mental health” throughout the month of May so that your friends, family, and community can get the support and education that they need.

For more information about mental health awareness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness at nami.org.



 
 

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