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AAUW Celebrates Women’s History Month

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“Women in Technology” was the theme of this year’s Women’s History Month Brunch sponsored by the Salisbury Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women),

March 30th at First United Church of Christ.   Dr. Carol Cody, President of AAUW-Salisbury, led the morning program with a brief history of AAUW, one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls since its founding in 1881. The Salisbury AAUW Branch has been active locally for 68 years. The Rev. Carol Hallman of the host church offered the Invocation.

Salisbury’s talented classical concert artist Teresa A. Moore-Mitchell led off the program with stirring renditions of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and “Ride On, King Jesus”.

The annual event was a fund-raiser for scholarships to enable local students to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), sponsored by the national AAUW. Dr. Da’Tarvia Parrish challenged the attendees to “Reach, Recognize and Empower young women in order to continue the legacy of those women who fought to have a place at the table.”

Last year’s NCCWSL scholarship recipient, Livingstone College student Jourdan Gaddie, spoke of her experiences, calling it “The most amazing conference I have ever attended, with workshops and many inspiring female speakers.” She introduced the three students who were awarded scholarships to attend this year’s conference at the University of Maryland in late May: Damia Marshall of Livingstone, and Hanna Morris and Tamara Davis of Rowan Cabarrus Community College. Both schools are Institutional Members of AAUW.

The keynote speaker, Salisbury Mayor Al Heggins, delivered her remarks on the theme, “Building Community with Technology”. She first recognized a dozen women she called “The Sheroes of Technology”: women like Ada Lovelace, whose analytical work led to the computer; Annie Easley, who pioneered the hybrid car; Karen Spark Jones, creator of the technology behind search engines; and the women mathematicians featured in the book and film, “Hidden Figures,” who put a man on the moon.

Mayor Al Heggins, AAUW brunch speaker

The mayor then told the audience to set their smartphones aside for a few minutes and asked who could tell the time, or remember phone numbers, or find directions without their devices. “What would we do in a global blackout? Could we cook on a wood stove? Could we make our own clothes?” she asked.

“Technology brings quality and usefulness to our lives. But sometimes we are overwhelmed by technology,” she continued.   “We are so plugged into technology that we are disconnected from the person next to you.” The Mayor closed her remarks by asking each member of the audience to quietly whisper words of inspiration to the other women seated at their table. She challenge the guests “to remember that women bring the finesse and humanity to technology.”

The program concluded with a drawing led by Eileen Hanson-Kelly, AAUW-Salisbury Treasurer, assisted by Seven-Hazel Boone and the students from Livingstone and RCCC. Local merchants and venues donated 30 door prizes door for the event so many of the Brunch attendees went home carrying gift certificates, baskets and entertainment tickets.

For more information about AAUW’s national and local programs, visit www.aauw.org or contact hansonkelly@ctc.net.

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