Three of the leading gender-focused and policy research centers in the United States brought together an outstanding and diverse group of guests and speakers from the spheres of policymaking, research, business, labor, philanthropy, and advocacy in June for the policy research forum in Washington, D.C., “From Persistence to Power: Facts, Truth, & Equity for Women,” featuring keynote addresses by Maggie Hassan, U.S. Senator representing New Hampshire, and Charlotte Burrows, Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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In fall 2015, the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) launched the Justice and Gender- Based Violence Research (JGBVR) Initiative to build on its work advancing the role that research plays in improving the lives of women and girls, families and communities. Led by Senior Research Scientist Linda M. Williams, Ph.D., and an interdisciplinary group of collaborators, the JGBVR team conducts and disseminates research that meaningfully addresses the causes and consequences of gender-based violence and the social, health, and justice system responses to violent crime and victimization. To do this work, the initiative builds relationships with partners in the community, the criminal justice system, governmental and non-governmental organizations, international partners, and other researchers and institutes. Nine months later, the team has made great strides in linking its high-quality, gender-informed research with real action to improve the lives of women and girls in all roles of the criminal justice system—victims, offenders, workers, and policymakers.

A Special Women’s Review of Books Feature

Last year, Amy Hoffman, M.F.A., editor-in-chief, Women’s Review of Books (WRB) began thinking about the organizing by Black Lives Matter against police violence and other forms of racist oppression, the intersectional politics of this new movement, and its similarities and differences—in politics and strategies—from previous organizing. She decided to bring together (virtually, through email) a few older and younger Black women activists to talk about their experiences and ideas. A special roundtable discussion with Demita Frazier, J.D., Stacey Patton, Ph.D., Barbara Smith, and Mecca Jamilah Sullivan was featured in the March/April 2017 issue of WRB.

21st Century Community Learning Centers and Literacy Skills

Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D. Funded by: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Wellesley-Cabo Verde Convening
The Centre for Research and Training in (CIGEF) and the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) held a joint conference, Gender, Social Justice, and Women’s Empowerment, in Cabo Verde in February. Vanessa Britto, M.D., Wellesley College Medical Director; LaShawnda Lindsay- Dennis, Ph.D., WCW research scientist; Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of WCW; and Linda M. Williams, Ph.D., WCW senior research scientist, were among the presenters. Attended by government officials, UN officers, academics, students, and representatives of numerous community organizations and NGOs, the conference symbolized the cementing of a partnership that has been growing since 2013. “Our joint conference reflected an important effort to work across the language barrier to share research and best practices related to issues facing women and girls worldwide,” Maparyan said. “Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from Cabo Verde, the U.S., and other countries came together to learn together, converse about strategies, and build new working relationships.”

The National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), one of the nation’s largest peer-led professional development programs for teachers, college faculty, parents, and community leaders, recently announced the appointment of Motoko Maegawa and Ruth Mendoza as associate directors.

NIOST Recognized for Supporting Health & Wellness
The National Afterschool Association (NAA) has named the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) as one of its 2017 Most Influential in Health & Wellness. The NAA sought to honor those whose service, action, and leadership align with and support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards and affect large numbers of youth, families, or afterschool professionals. Several years ago, NIOST, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living and Healthy Eating Research divisions, examined physical activity and eating experiences in a national sample of out-of-school time programs. This work led to the founding of the Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Coalition (niost.org/HOST) and the writing of the HEPA Standards with NIOST’s partners—the YMCA of the USA and Jean Wiecha at RTI International. The NAA adopted the standards in 2011 and takes a national strategy for sharing, disseminating, and promoting the standards.

New Book by WRB Editor
The Off Season, a forthcoming novel by Amy Hoffman, M.F.A., editor-in-chief of Women’s Review of Books, will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in October 2017. Hoffman will be speaking about her writing throughout the year to various communities, including during a November 30 Lunchtime Seminar at the Wellesley Centers for Women. In May, she presented “From the Archives” talk about Bad Attitude magazine at Boston’s LGBT History Project.

Jean Baker Miller Training Institute Update
In June, the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI), a legacy project of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), held “Gathering Our Power,” a multi-day participatory meeting during which long-time supporters and Relational- Cultural Theory (RCT) practitioners shared experiences and connected to discuss how their work can further contribute to clinical, social, and institutional progress. Facilitators, including JBMTI faculty and WCW Senior Scholars Amy Banks, M.D., Judith Jordan, Ph.D., and Maureen Walker, Ph.D., came together with other facilitators to address questions such as: How do we deal with political issues in our clinical practices? How do we practice radical empathy in the midst of radical difference? What are the tools we need to hone to connect across difference? What does an attitude of learning look like? Recently, JBMTI established a separate nonprofit (501c3), The Center for Relational-Cultural Growth, which will serve as the official organization and funding arm for the institute. More information will be posted on jbmti.org this fall.