It’s time to rally around women, and the Women’s Veterans Interactive is designed to do just that.
We are living in a liminal time today; at least, that is my hope … a hope that as a nation we will cross this threshold from a place of discrimination, shame and darkness to one of inclusion and unity in diversity. As finally, tragically, our attention and intention has focused on Black Lives Matter, my personal grief keeps turning to the women of color.
To the mothers in particular. I simply cannot imagine what it’s like to be a Black mom. To try and imagine it or relate to it strikes me as a form of arrogance; there is just no way. I’ve been dedicated to helping women and girls over the years; in my work life, in my community, at my church — and of course in my home with my own daughter. Through the nonprofit, the Alliance of Channel Women, I got to meet some extraordinary women.
One in particular is Ginger Miller, CEO of Women Veterans Interactive. She came to an ACW event a few years ago as an honored guest with a number of female veterans. Our purpose was to offer these women the opportunity to experience community with ACW and meet executives from the various telecom and IT companies, with the hope of creating connections that would lead to jobs. It was a successful event.
In speaking with Ginger I’ve learned the organization – like many others – is in transition. They are learning how to transform from an event format for fundraising and networking to a virtual format. (LogMeIn, the provider of SaaS and cloud-based remote connectivity services, signed on to sponsor the event.) In this time of COVID-19, unprecedented unemployment in an uncertain economy is a challenge to distinguish the need associated with these women. Although I can’t relate, I do have observations and statistics I’ve learned over the years.
Women Veterans by the Numbers
First of all, one in three (34%) of our female veterans is a woman of color. In the latest totals from the Joint Economic Committee, about 220,000 women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. About 40% of those active-duty women – or almost 85,000 – are mothers. Of those, at least 30,000 are single moms. And many of them find themselves homeless and struggling to re-enter civilian life.
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It’s time we rally around these women and the Women’s Veterans Interactive is designed to do just that. Many organizations, including well-known and honorable veterans’ associations, are competing for donations in this time of need. My plea is to recognize that being a woman, a single mom or primary breadwinner, being Black or Asian or Latino and being a veteran warrants special attention, today more than ever. Not only does our support lift them up, these deserving women — but it also impacts the next generation. If we are to cross this threshold, to make use of this liminal time for good, then we must distinguish the importance of giving them whatever we can.
In the tech community of which I’m a part, we have much to give. We have in-kind donations of the technology itself, platforms — both virtual and social, expertise and managed service support, as well as opportunities for jobs and lasting careers. If you are willing to step up and say, “I support female veterans,” then reach out to Ginger Miller. She is a passionate steward and advocate. May our next steps express our gratitude as well as a small measure of restitution.