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Democracy is only as strong as participation

Written by Cindy Carrillo, President

This year’s Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California emphasized a recurrent message by all speakers, but one in particular phrased it as: “democracy is only as strong as participation.”

President Ann McElaney-Johnson introduced the first speaker Mayor Eric Garcetti who was followed by Nancy Kirschner-Rodriguez, Maria Echaveste, and Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro. The conversation ended with a panel led by Mary Melton, editor-in-chief of L.A. Magazine, with Rodriguez, Echaveste, and Kanyoro that allowed the audience to ask questions via Twitter.

At the end of every speaker’s speech, a similar message was delivered; a call to action accessible to everyone willing to create change and be a part of a better tomorrow. But how many asked.

Mayor Eric Garcetti advised not to “look into big titles for change,” but rather, “[m]ake change where you are.” Students were encouraged to look into their neighborhoods to make a change in the local level and slowly move up.

Nancy Kirschner-Rodriguez suggested reaching out to local women’s centers or any other organization that supports a topic of one’s interest. She said to closely see the way they get organized, how they execute their tactics to better the community and practice them.

Maria Eschaveste, a leader in her field and soccer mom, said it is important to value one’s work in the roles one holds because it impacts their ability to succeed. She boldly said that “government cannot do it all and we should not expect it to but we should be willing to confront that women carry forward the human race. We have so much to give our society and our country and the world.”

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro said that U.S. citizens have many educational opportunities and resources available for them to take advantage of, in comparison to other countries. She then finished by encouraging everyone to “organize and use your constitutional rights.”

So, as Dr. Kanyoro finished, “what do you bring to the table” when you want to create change or get involved? Participation can go a long way by starting in a place you are familiar with and passionate about.

Be sure to check out MSMU’s Take Action for ways you can improve the lives of women and girls in California.

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