An International Women’s Day Article

“I strongly believe we are all born Queens. We must respect, educate and support each other. We are creating a sisterhood. Love, trust, and support all play a role.” -Valerie Padilla, Founder of Valerie’s Women’s Empowerment Group

We talk a lot these days about feminism and empowerment. Words and rhetoric are effective, but actions are essential. Almost two years ago, Valerie Padilla saw a need in her community, in the online forum,  and in the general experience of women around the world. She decided to take action and began a Facebook group. Two years later, that group has 4,120 members. A huge variety of countries, ages, ethnicities, race, religions, sexual orientation, and size/shapes are represented. 

The online group offers remote support to members going through challenges related to health, relationships, discrimination, abuse and sexism. But it also provides a platform for sharing inspirational words, jokes, and everyday connections that change the quality of life for many members, particularly those who are isolated.

And unlike most online experiences, this group has a face in the “offline” world. Local chapters are active in their communities. The NYC members of Valerie’s group consistently volunteer at local soup kitchens, coordinate school supplies donations and organize clothing drives for domestic violence shelters. They also plan social outings, as a way to encourage the bonds between the members. 

Ms. Padilla explains, “I believe in women’s unity. I want to empower, encourage and support other women and young ladies. My movement is strongly dedicated to ensuring that every women and girl has the opportunity and motivation to reach her full potential and live out her dreams and goals. We also build self-love, self-confidence, and self-worth. Complete strangers becoming united for a positive cause. Our purpose is to help other women in need and show them they are not alone. Our mission is to empower and educate as many Queens as we can.”

For this group, education and empowerment are synonymous with service. They have responded to such crises as the devastating natural disasters that have hit Puerto Rico and the  Bahamas, as well as needs that they see closer to home. 

Last week, 50 of the NYC members celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting a day of pampering for local women living in shelters. The event included food, dancing, a clothing thrift shop, music, raffles/giveaways and an overall reminder of the power of sisterhood.

Valerie Padilla, Founder of Valerie’s Women Empowerment Group

In 2018, Ms. Padilla was recognized and awarded a certificate by New York  State Senator Brian A. Benjamin for the group’s community service work. As they near their official two year anniversary, we hope to share more about this inspiring group of leaders, helpers, and supporters. 

As Ms. Padilla says, “We have a voice. We must vote-take action against domestic violence, low self esteem and depression. United We Stand With Our Crowns On! #thatslife!”

Bold is proud to recognize Valerie Padilla’s Women’s Empowerment Group as a beautiful example of the impact of sisterhood and the importance of International Women’s Day!

You can follow Valerie and her movement on Instagram @valerieswomenempowermentgroup

Members of the the group at International Women’s Day Event in East Harlem
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