Alfre Woodard

By:Judith B. Taylor Issue: Collaborative Leadership Section: Community

Urges Positive Community Building for Girls

Academy Award-winning actress, Alfre Woodard, delivered a stirring keynote address at the 23rd Annual Women’s Foundation of Colorado luncheon on November 4th. The accomplished actress grabbed the 1,800 member audience from the get-go with a message of support, hope, values, realities and effort toward moving women forward.

“You are going boldly,” she told the audience. “You are lights in Colorado and you are casting a safety net under this state. I’m honored to be in this village.”

Woodard thanked the supporters of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado for their ongoing work and encouraged the audience to rally like-minded friends with a like-minded mission. She spoke of the Women’s Foundation as the cornerstone for Colorado girls to rise in an upward trajectory. Yet she challenged the audience to become more involved.

Woodard, who is part of a national girls’ mentoring effort, cited startling dropout rates and the critical need for inspiring girls. She emphasized getting the facts out of “what could be.” She said, “Your presence in these young girls’ lives is just as important as your big checks.”

Woodard shared her own life experiences about her parents and teachers as role models. She highlighted, by name, those impressive teachers who had made a difference in her life. “The need for community role models to be involved with young people is vital,” Woodard said. “It is about seeing the possibilities.”

She went on, “Our paths need to cross more. We need to re-create community and understand history as a continuum.” Describing the minefields young people face today, including sex tapes and salacious imagery, Woodard said, “They need to see you so they can more easily envision themselves as the successful women you are, not as someone whose goal is to be Miss New Booty or Miss Freakalicious” Woodard’s remarks included a global perspective on the plight of women worldwide. Noting that no woman is an island, Woodard reminded the audience of the importance of working toward global economic justice, including how we do business and communicate with men.

In her closing remarks, Woodard energized the audience with her passionate message and unflinching commitment to the job at hand. “So much is said by how we treat the most vulnerable. It is a high yield investment in women. They keep the world up and running. We need to encourage, soothe and try to teach fairness and compassion. There is enough greed and neglect,” she said.

Referring to the girls the Women’s Foundation serves, Woodard told the audience, “You need to look into their eyes and let them know you are expecting something from them.”

Alfre Woodard received a standing ovation for her exhilarating message.

The event, chaired by Piper Billups, Cathy Hart and Susan McIntire raised $800,000 for the Colorado Women’s Foundation. Part of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s mission is to build resources and lead change so that women and girls of Colorado are full and equal participants in society. The goal is for women in Colorado to be economically self-sufficient.