Erie County Women’s Advocates Struggle to Stay Viable
BUFFALO, NY (2006-09-25) The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women is charged with assessing and advocating on a host of issues critical to women. But in recent years, the most critical issue has been keeping the Commission alive.
The turmoil caused by the county budget cuts two years ago took a greater toll on some departments than others. The Women’s Commission was nearly eliminated all together. That didn’t happen. But today, with only one employee, the Commission is a mere shadow of its former self.
Naniscah Koessler is the recent past Executive Director. In the aftermath of the budget cuts, Koessler stepped in to fill a void, following the departure of previous Director Clotilde Dedecker.
Not surprisingly, with a mountain of work still remaining on a host of important issues – from health care to financial management – and few resources, the one remaining job has been a difficult one to fill.
Last month, Koessler, who is in her 60′s, passed the torch to 31-year-old Latricia Chisholm. Koessler said it will take a grassroots movement, led by a younger woman, for the Commission survive.
From answering phones to researching reports and organizing workshops, the Commission now relies entirely on volunteer efforts.
New Director Latricia Chisholm said they do have a core of women dedicated to the Commission’s mission. Chisolm is undaunted and is eager to move the Commisssion forward.
To that end, the Commission will hold a women’s empowerment symposium this Saturday at UB. There will be speakers and a series of classes to educate women toward empowerment. Anyone interested in attending should contact the Commission.