Al Jazeera’s The Stream sponsored a women in power town hall with women leaders in politics, public service, journalism and activism on Jan. 31.
International journalist and broadcaster Femi Oke moderated the panel, which included human rights activist Noura Erakat, political strategist Christine Pelosi, Al-Jazeera correspondent Patty Culhane, and New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.
Erakat discussed her work as a human rights attorney and teacher, and emphasized that anyone can be an effective advocate. “I see this drive in a lot of people and I find that the primary impediment to reaching your own potential to find your voice is your own belief that you are the one, that you can do it,” she said.
Pelosi spoke about the importance of keeping a healthy relationship between public and private life, and the relationship between her mother, Nancy Pelosi, and Donald Trump. “We know the sacrifice that my mother makes,” she said. “You can’t let these people into your head or into your heart.”
After Pelosi and Culhane spoke, Sadiyah Bashir performed a poem she had written about female genital mutilation. The poem spoke to the objectification of female bodies and their treatment as such through these acts.
Hannah-Jones, a correspondent for the New York Times, discussed her work on the 1619 project. 1619 is an ongoing initiative from the New York Times Magazine that began in August of 2019 to honor the 400th anniversary of American slavery. Hannah-Jones spoke on how meaningful the 1619 project has been for her.
“My biggest concern about the project was that this became a project that only the elite consumed and that the very people whom I’m writing about, whom I’m writing for, would never see it or would not engage with it,” she said. “And so that event really showed me that we were reaching the people that I wanted to honor.”