Updated: Mar 28
By Adoria Hughes
On March 12, 2022, more than 250 women and girls filled the Capital City Club in downtown Montgomery in a fellowship of love, brunch, goodie bags, an interactive photo booth, and recognition of Women in Training, Inc.’s 16 WIT Young Leaders. Local news anchor, Ellis Eskew with Alabama News Network, was the emcee for the brunch.
Given the unique challenges that young women face in today's society, Alabama State Rep. Rolanda Hollis reminded the mother-daughter duos that each girl’s mother is her number one mentor and shero. She emphasized that what a mother pours into her daughter’s life is what she will get out of her.
"I'm so proud of my sheroes, Brooke and Breanna!” Rep. Hollis exclaimed. “I hope we continue to show so many people how serious this movement is. Let's continue to end period poverty!"
Several mother-daughter duos attended the brunch, including Byranna and Cierra Belser.
Ms. Belser, an event sponsor from Onin Staffing, stated, "When I found out about the Women in Training organization, I knew I wanted to help in any way, so I wanted to make sure that Onin Staffing was able to show support and give back."
Her daughter, Cierra, said she enjoyed the inspirational messages about mother-daughter relationships: "I feel that mother daughter relationships are very important, along with sisterhood."
Ashley Jones, Alabama’s Poet Laureate, virtually performed her spoken word poem, “It is Entirely Possible for a Black Girl to be Loved.”
With the brunch embracing the WIT Young Leaders to unite as one, the message of sisterhood was meaningful as twin sisters, Brooke and Breanna Bennett, founded the organization on their 12th birthday. The Honorable Samarria Dunson, city of Montgomery municipal judge, addressed the importance of sisterhood in young women.
"What is sisterhood? Sisterhood is good trouble, and starts with having your sister’s back BEHIND her back!” Judge Dunson said.
The Honorable Lloria James, Montgomery County circuit judge, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, followed her sister’s inspirational remarks with more words of wisdom: “Never be bullied into silence. Speak your mind even when your voice cracks. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Embrace it, learn from it and be the change you want to see.”
Dr. LaToya Clark, MD, chairwoman, president and medical director of Women in Training, Inc. envisions the next WIT Mother Daughter Brunch bringing together more community members, as well as government and corporate leaders.
“With corporate partnerships like Procter and Gamble’s Always brand of sanitary pads, Alabama Power, Hyundai, State Farm, Walmart, and government support from the Montgomery County Commission and the city of Montgomery, we are confident that our organization will continue to make great strides to end period poverty and develop culturally aware women global leaders,” Dr. Clark said.
Hyundai representatives endorsed that vision.
"On behalf of our president, Young Deuk Lim, and more than 3,000 team members, we know how important it is to reach back and give to our community. At our plant, we have more males than we do women, but women play just as equal a role in the plant's makeup. We are so happy to partner with WIT and empower young women in the community," said Krista Hawkins, community relations specialist/public relations manager with Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
Charlotte Le Flufy, global brand director for Always Social Impact, Procter & Gamble, virtually shared her message on the importance of ending period poverty to help women worldwide have access to period protection items. Here is Ms. Le Flufy’s virtual message.
During the event, WIT highlighted the WIT Young Leaders in the first WIT Leadership Development Circle cohort, with a special focus on graduating high school seniors in the program. The goal of the WIT Leadership Development Circle is to develop a cohort of young women with a strong understanding of global issues, career options and a commitment to service.
The event also served as the official launch of the book, Only The Strong Survive: A Womanist Journey, written by WIT CEO Adeyela Albury Bennett. The book, published in partnership with WIT and as a fundraiser for the organization, takes readers on an exciting global journey that highlights women leaders and goddesses from each continent, focusing on women who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
Here is a VIDEO RECAP of the event.
WIT is currently working with Rep. Hollis to pass HB 50, the menstrual equity bill that would award $200,000 annually to the Alabama State Department of Education to offer grants to Title I school districts to provide menstrual supplies to students in need. Please write to your Alabama state senator to urge him or her to vote YES to HB 50. State senators’ addresses can be found here.