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Celebrating Staten Island Women

Welcome address from Roxanne Mustafa, co-founder of SIWWM, to the SI Women's Breakfast

Good Morning everyone and welcome! Welcome to the first annual Staten Island Women who March Women’s Breakfast. My name is Roxanne Mustafa and I, along with Lorie Honor, am one of the founders of this group. I am so honored to be here in front of you, and with you in this room.

Lorie and I started this group in January 2017...January 20, 2017 to be specific.We were in the midst of what was to be a huge victory for women. But we plummeted into huge disappointment and shock. Before we could start reflecting on what happened and what that missed opportunity was, we started putting out fires here on Staten Island. Fire after fire after fire, that left us wondering when are we going to catch our breath and talk about what we lost. This group was forged in that fire.

Don’t oppressors know that it is in these times of trial one truly finds out what they are made of, what they are willing to take and what they stand for?  Particularly, New York women. Specifically, Staten Island women.

As women, when we see something that needs to be done, we do it. We just get it done. We don’t have time to waste, or sometime even questions to ask. We see what we have, we figure out what we need, and we get scrappy and we get it done. We know when our family is in need, what they need and we how best to deliver that solution. Day after day after day, we just do it. We just get it done. Am I right?

Now I am not saying we do this alone. God knows I would not be here without my husband, my father and my mother, my brothers, my sister, and my beautiful friends, many of whom are sitting here. It does take a village and sometimes it does take a community. And Staten Island is our community.

As women, we are determined to make each day a little bit better for our families. As Staten Island Women who March, we are applying this same tenacity and character and purpose, as a group, to make not just our homes better, but to make our community reflect the values that we all share. We are so blessed to have found each other. And god help the person who stands in front of us.

Let me take a minute to acknowledge the amazing women who have worked so hard to make this event possible .

Jennifer Gray-Brumskine

Michelle Roller

Nicole Negron

Tal Jasmin

And our secret weapon, Karen Lanovoi.

Ladies, you killed it.

And now I want to acknowledge our men and partners. Bernie, Miguel, Ronen and Isaac.

And our kids who did such a great job helping mama and being patient:

Georgie, Teddy, Malachi, Margaret, Juliette, Louie, Reese, Sienna, Hunter, Laith and Ryan.

As I look out in the audience this morning I am immensely overwhelmed. You are the best that Staten Island has to offer. You go out in this world and do the work that you do - whether it’s part of an organization, a part of your home, a part of your family, a part of your community - this simple work to make us all feel better and live more meaningful lives.

We know what we need on Staten Island better than anyone else. It's on us. And the power to make us the best borough to live in, is sitting in this room right now.

Just look around you, look around your community and see what’s needs to be done - and get it done. This morning, as we come to celebrate the collective us, we are going to share with you some inspiration on how to get it done.

Thank you have thank all of those who have supported us - particularly our sponsors.

Thanks to (in no particular order):

Julie Scelfo:

Author of the book The Women who Made New York - you have an offer in your bags to get a free copy.

Ravi Gupta and The Arena

Who are committed to providing an entry point for new and rising civic leaders

The New York Women’s Foundation

The Mayor’s Office and the Commission on Gender Equity

Who have provided some amazing resources and toolkits in your bags regarding pay equity, as well as a book of inspirational quotes

Lifestyles for the Disabled

Who donated these stunning centerpieces.

And councilmember Joe Borelli

Sunday Civics podcast and June Moses

For all the support and shout outs, as well as helping educate a new line of civically engaged Staten Islanders

The Office of the Honorable Councilwoman Debi Rose

The Office of Senator Diane Savino

The Democratic Organization of Richmond Country for their sponsorship and support

For our younger brothers and sisters, the Young Democrats of Richmond County

Our amazing Advisors - we would not be here at all if it wasn’t for you Virginia Allen

Mary Caracappa

Kelly Vilar

And the incredible Zulma Cruz and

Ronnie Gambon

And last but not least the amazing

Lorie Honor for helping us all find each other.

You are all a class act.

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