Last week, The National Women’s Health Network was proud to host the 10th Annual Barbara Seaman Awards for Activism in Women’s Health.
Supporters and members of the National Women’s Health Network celebrated the Network’s recent achievements and recognized the work of two remarkable women, Susan F. Wood and Renee Bracey Sherman. Board Member, Zipatly Mendoza was our emcee for the evening!
Network Board Member Tiffany Reed presented Renee Bracey Sherman with the Emerging Activist Award for her amazing work in organizing for the representation of all groups and ending abortion stigma. Renee recalled her experience of needing an abortion as a young woman and emphasized the importance of sharing our stories:
“I shared my abortion story because I want others to know that they are not alone. I share my abortion story to let another 19 year old Renee out there know that she’s making the best decision for herself. I share my story to remind you of the very simple fact that everyone loves someone who has had an abortion. And we have the responsibility to treat all people who have had [an abortion] with love, compassion, and a warm embrace.”
Another highlight of the evening was when New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan presented her cousin, Dr. Susan F. Wood, with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Senator Hassan acknowledged Dr. Wood’s lifelong commitment to women’s health:
“At a time when some are focused on an agenda that restricts women’s access to clinical health services, I am grateful to know that Susan is in this field and on the ground, committed to science, research, and ensuring that all women can get the care they need.”
Accepting her award, Dr. Wood shared that she considers the network of women’s health organizations to be her family, “We really try and support each other and reach the goals of advancing women’s health.”
The evening closed with a moving speech from guest speaker Monica Sherman, the Executive Director of SisterSong, The National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Monica honored the struggles of women of color, lower-income women, and LGBTQ individuals and urged us to join the legacy of the activists who came before us and continue our collective fight for justice:
“I don’t care who’s in office, I don’t care what administration we have to deal with, we will have the power, the people power to shift culture and to see the change that we all want to see together.”
We are so inspired by everything these women and leaders do everyday. It is their work, and the work of so many others, that encourages the Network to continue working to improve women’s health.