Letter from Yasmeen

Hello everyone,

I am honored and excited to take on the role of CEO at Womankind and to lead such a passionate and dedicated team of professionals to support survivors of gender-based violence on their path to healing, and work in collaboration with communities to rise above violence.

In the early years of my career, I knew my passion was working with immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. I wanted more to be part of a movement that was deeply rooted in the community, born out of a desire to work with and for marginalized survivors of gender-based violence, and driven to make real change by providing culturally-specific services. That's when I found Womankind, formerly the New York Asian Women's Center. I started here over eight years ago as the Assistant Director of Client Services, transitioned to the Director of Community Programs, and now taking on the role of CEO.

As I begin my tenure, I do so at a time when the pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on our communities. It has caused us to create a new way of working, transforming our "normal" as an organization. We are all unsure of what the year will bring, but I know that Womankind will continue to serve and find effective ways to return to some of our in-person work, while taking into account the safety of our staff and survivors. Therefore, it is a priority for me to ensure that our Womankind community continues to build on what we have developed, allowing us to transition seamlessly as the course of the pandemic shifts and changes.

We will move forward on our path to deepen our services, making them more holistic to support survivors to live a life free of violence. The pandemic has reinforced the unique needs of our survivors, and to be able to support them more effectively on their path to healing, our work needs to continue to evolve. This means incorporating more services that support survivors in gaining the resources and skills needed for longer-term self-sufficiency. This also means continuing our work to support families in rebuilding healthy relationships as a way to break the cycle of violence within our communities.

Although our services continue to be the focal point of our work, the last four decades have shown us the impact that policies and legislation have had on the lives of survivors. Knowing that, we will continue to prioritize and expand our ability to be in advocacy spaces where we can amplify the voices of our communities. We want to ensure their needs are being considered and taken into account on local, state and federal levels.

As Womankind works to augment the voices of Asian and immigrant survivors, we are still witnessing the violence and injustice enacted on the Black community. We will continue doing the internal organizational work to interrogate our own biases and reconfirm our commitment to being anti-racist and anti-oppressive in all areas of our work. This is, in part, driven by our commitment to stand in solidarity with the Black community to dismantle oppressive systems for real change.

I am more than ever committed to working alongside the staff, board of directors, and volunteers to carry out Womankind’s mission. We will continue utilizing our multidimensional Asian backgrounds to bring critical resources and deep cultural humility to help communities in need, find refuge, recovery, and renewal. Womankind cannot do this work alone and the change we are looking for comes from all of us. I look forward to working with you as we endeavor to make a long-lasting impact within our communities.