July 29, 2019 - July 30, 2019 SACIV hosted five women from Palestine to learn about Community Leadership for Women. They met with Mr. DJ Jackson from Haven for Hope, Former Mayor Ivy Taylor, Members of the Bear County Family Justice Center, and Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran. Through these meetings the visitors were able to learn more about women leadership in San Antonio and what it’s like to be a woman in the city of San Antonio.
On Monday, the women visited Haven for Hope where they were able to tour and learn about the campus. They also participated in a community service activity. During this trip the women were able to learn about how shelters like these help homeless women. Through meeting with Mr. DJ Jackson, the Volunteer Service Manager, they were able to learn about the programs Haven for Hope uses to help homeless women get into the workforce once again. They were also taught about the root causes of homelessness in the community and how Haven for Hope tries to help combat the issue.
Next, the visitors met with Former Mayor Ivy Taylor to talk about her accomplishments as a women in power and her role of one of several women holding positions in San Antonio’s municipal government. It was a great experience for the visitors to talk to a woman who has been in a power position in San Antonio's government and to learn about her experiences.
On Tuesday, the women visited the Bexar County Family Justice Center (BCFJC). At the center they met with Crystal Chandler, Deirdre Hernandez-Perez, Rachel Martinez, Officer Nancy Olguin, Rhonda Barnett, Richard Loza, and Dolores Villanueva. In this meeting, the women learned about how the Justice Center helps bring everything a victim needs to one place to make it more accessible for them. They brought in representatives from each agency that resides at the center, such as a representative from the District Attorney’s Office, the San Antonio Police Department, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and a FJC Programming Counselor. These representatives talked about their role in the center and the part they play in helping victims of domestic violence.
Finally, the visitors met with Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran of District Three. During this meeting, the Councilwoman talked about what she and her team are doing to help women join the workforce and be more active in the community. Councilwoman Viagran also talked about the report she and her team conducted. The report addressed four main issues, such as female economic output, women’s health, female political presence, and abuse of women. She talked about how this report was a major step in showing the issues that women face in the San Antonio community. She said a key to helping improve not just the life of women in San Antonio, but the whole community, is getting political groups to work together to fix these issues.
The San Antonio Council for International Visitors was honored to host the visitors from Palestine. The women learned more about the lack of women leadership here and what San Antonio is doing to combat the issue. This experience shed new light on the issue which helped form new solutions and insight. This was truly a rich learning experience for not only the group but for everyone involved and we here at SACIV were not only honored but privileged to have hosted these wonderful women. Hopefully this experience will help the growth of women leadership not only in Palestine but here in San Antonio as well.