On Wednesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Alabama state office director gave a keynote speech during a women’s conference in Mobile.
Tafeni English-Relf, SPLC’s first Alabama office director, spoke to a crowd of women during an annual conference hosted by Focus Empowers. Focus Empowers is a Mobile-based organization that is focused on encouraging, educating and empowering women.
English-Relf discussed a number of topics including issues affecting women, the power women hold and the role everyone, including allies, can play to make a better future possible for everyone. Specific problems English-Relf noted was the gender wage-gap, housing problems, voting rights, civil rights, reproductive rights and more. English-Relf said it was “time” to continue doing the work to build a multi-racial, multi-generational and inclusive coalition.
“So when we center equity we liberate everyone,” English Relf stated. “When we acknowledge and stand in our own power, we move forward. So yes, it’s time. When we foster an inclusive and growth mindset we advance. It’s time. When we center justice all things are constant. It’s time. And that will take all of us pushing back against an agenda that tells us that we’re better apart. That tells us how to do it, when to do it.”
Focus Empowers founder, Devin Ford, said this was the fifth year they’ve held the event and is grateful for how successful the event has been. Ford said it was important to have a speaker like English-Relf because of how effective she is as a communicator and the crucial point of view she offers as a Black woman.
“I think it’s important for people to see powerful, strong Black women being their greatest self,” Ford said. “And to see them just being humans being and to know to let people know that they need our support.
The event was also held with the help of Stand-Up Mobile, a voter advocacy organization in Mobile. The conference held several workshops that focused on a range of topics including entrepreneurship, social media, reproductive rights, economic assistance and etc.