The indelible work of the South Queens Women’s March (SQWM) that began two years ago, will meet the needs of many more women in the community, thanks to the new office, at 130-10 Liberty Ave., in Richmond Hill, Queens, unveiled, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 16.
Scores turned out to wish the group well, and praised its accomplishments, working hard to fulfill its mission to promote gender justice on its streets, to connect women, girls and gender-expansive people to the tools needed to survive and thrive, and finally, to honor their many struggles while centering joyously our immense resilience.
Queens Borough President, Donovan Richards congratulated the women saying, “I am so proud to see you grow, turning tragedy into triumph. Congratulations to all of you phenomenal women. It is so important to have community-based organizations at the forefront of conversations around gender justice and SQWM has been at the forefront of so many of these conversations. As gender-based violence reached a crisis level during this pandemic, for every one encounter we are seeing 20 that go unreported. I look forward to continuing to support the work of South Queens Women’s March.”
Speaker of the New York City Council, Adrienne Adams said, “I want to let you ladies know how proud I am to be your sister. How proud of you I am to have watched you grow over these years. How proud I am of you to know where your heart has always been and now look where you are. Since its founding just a few years ago, South Queens Women’s March has made enormous contributions to the civic and community life right here in Southeast Queens and right here in the Great 28. You have empowered and amplified the voices of diverse women across this borough, connected neighbors to important resources and advocated fiercely for gender and racial justice. Your work has been so critical, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, because of our own underserved conditions.”
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization poured its heart into meeting its community where they were.
The organization began with an idea to host a women’s march in the South Queens community, starting with five dedicated women of many intersections. The pandemic prevented the march from happening, but the group still followed through with its mission. Today, SQWM has a growing membership of more than 70 individuals who power an unshakeable movement.
“SQWM allowed me to find my purpose. When I think about SQWM, I think about the best thing that ever happened to me besides my husband. I think about this random dream I had of organizing a mass of women of all intersections to march on our streets for our rights,” said Aminta Kilawan-Narine, SQWM’s founder and director
After learning of Donna Rehanna Dojoy’s death, yet another sister at the hands of gender-based violence by her husband — I thought to myself — of how many women, who just like her could have used an outlet like SQWM in our local community.
“We shouldn’t just mobilize during tragedy, we should also cultivate inclusive and intersectional mechanisms to empower women on these streets — the streets that raised us – in the name of justice for women, girls and gender expansive people. For too long, a space like this did not exist in our community. For the first time, today it does,” said SQWM’s founder and director.
Harmehar Kohli, founding board member of SQWM said, “During our first SQWM event, handing out flyers about the March door to door down Lefferts Boulevard, I don’t think any of us ever imagined this day would come. The opening of this location is a testament to the need for more resources in South Queens and a clear yearning for community amongst our female residents. This location is a long-awaited space for dynamic creation, empowerment, and compassion in our neighborhood and I feel so blessed and humbled to be a part of this momentous day.”
“Despite being founded two years ago, at the height of the pandemic, SQWM became a household name, an entity community members trusted and depended on. Fast forward two years later, we now have a physical “home” that will be a brave space, filled with resources to continuously bridge the inequity gap that exists and bring joy to the South Queens community,” said Nirmala Singh, founding board member of SQWM.
Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers said, “This is really a remarkable milestone and I want to congratulate you ladies on all the work you have put in over the last several years in the Southeast Queens community. South Queens Women’s March has done so much to empower the women of Southeast Queens, whether it’s career training, voter outreach or cultural programming. These activities have strengthened the vines of our community. They’ve made us more connected.”
“This is a historical moment where we have South Queens Women’s March finally getting a physical manifestation of the work, they do that is so critical to this neighborhood. It’s so important to acknowledge that South Queens Women’s March is an organization that is turning pain into purpose. That is turning pain into healing. That is putting resources into a community that has been left behind and forgotten. And it’s so important to acknowledge that these folks who started this organization are not paid. These are folks who are giving their blood, sweat and tears to this community to make sure that it is well-resourced,” said Assembly Member Anderson.
To learn more about South Queens Women’s March visit www.southqueenswomensmarch.org.