2020 Womxn of Achievement Honorees
Talauna Reed, the powerful leader of Justice for Yvonne has also been a dedicated core organizer with Olympia Showing up for Racial Justice and a founding member of BLAST (Black Leaders in Action and Solidarity Thurston). Talauna has worked tirelessly and overcome obstacle after obstacle to keep fighting and leading the members of our community to stay engaged in the work of dismantling the oppressive nature of the systems we operate within. Though her core focus is anti-racism, she takes an intersectional approach and is sensitive to other forms of oppression such as ableism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia. She has a truly inclusive and openhearted approach to organizing.
Talauna not only has been fiercely fighting for justice for her aunt, Yvonne McDonald, who was killed in Olympia in August, 2018 due to the negligence of county & city officials, but she has worked just as hard to lift up other justice struggles in our community, and to spearhead fundraisers and rally support for other Black and POC leaders in our community. The obstacles she has faced include racist disregard and stonewalling from many members of our local city and county government as she fights for justice for her aunt, but she has not let that stop her. She does not give up or let the obstacles she is facing get her down, and she keeps the rest of us accountable and moving forward! Talauna knows that our humanity is dependent on overcoming everything placed in her way and continuing the revolution and resistance that is working so hard to divide us – while simultaneously building the movement and empowering all that have the opportunity to work with her. She does this all while working and being a stellar parent to a pair of amazing teenage twins.
Talauna is a beautiful embodiment of all of YWCA’s values and vision. Her life is dedicated to making the world a place where all people are valued and free from oppression. She holds a beautiful vision for a RAJE (Real Accountability, Justice, and Equity) Center in Olympia’s future, that would function as a community center for Black and Brown folks, as well as a place for people to go and get real help, support, and care if their family has been harmed due to systemic racism or other forms of oppression. Talauna’s has dedicated countless hours to attending City Council meetings, pushing the city to put people over systems, towards true accountability, and towards reclaiming their own humanity. Talauna is courageous, bold, and fierce, as well as having a huge heart and capacity for love. She pushes others to be accountable, as well as quickly acknowledging where she may have made a mistake or caused harm. She reminds us to slow down and breathe, and that this work is for the long haul.
Earth-Feather Sovereign (she/her pronouns) is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes located in Washington State. Her Father is Ernest Clark and Mother is Deanna Marcellay. Sovereign is a descendant of Chiefs and Matriarchs, including Que-Petsa of the snp?wílx People. Sovereign is inspired by her Ancestors to advocate for her people, all Indigenous People, and all inhabitants of our Mother Earth.
Sovereign is known for her role in helping with the awareness of the pandemic of our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) by becoming the founder of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington (MMIWW). Sovereign along with Gina Mosbrucker helped initiate the Washington State HB2951 Bill that passed in 2018 and begins the steps to create a comprehensive database to track our Missing Native People. Mosbrucker and Sovereign initiated bill HB1713 that begins creating a Missing Indigenous People’s Taskforce, starting with two Liasons that work with the State Patrol. MMIWW also helped initiate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Day in Seattle and Spokane, WA on May 5th. MMIWW led the Seattle Women’s MMIW March and Walks in 2018 and 2019. Sovereign along with MMIWW continues to advocate for victims and families while passing State, City, and Tribal initiatives to help address our pandemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.
Earth-Feather’s mother spent ten years in a Tribal boarding school, and was active in the American Indian Movement, opposing mining in her community. Earth-Feather has also organized marches around issues like No DAPL and spoke out about environmental issues facing Washington tribes.
Currently, Earth-Feather is working to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on her tribe, through fundraising and a donation drive for needed supplies. Additionally, she is raising funds for 10 Colville families who lost their homes in the fires.
Earth-Feather was herself kidnapped and sexually assaulted at the age of 14, and overheard her captors plotting to sell her to sex trafficking contacts. She is the mother of four children and recently has to combat cultural appropriation within the school system.
Earth-Feather inspires others with her approach, rooted in love. In an interview on her activism, she is quoted as saying, “When I think of activism, I think of Love in Action. Because I love my Indigenous People, I love all People, all People of all the four colors.” (https://www.poormagazine.org/node/5664)
Earth-Feather fully embodies the values and vision of YWCA Olympia, in working to address issues of racism and sexism by advocating for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, working to protect and bring healing to our Mother Earth, and working to educate and bring awareness about these issues so that all may experience healing and live in right relationship. This is rooted in her deep connection to a Matriarchal framework, and in living an Indigenous way of life and values. In speaking about matriarchs, she says, “They think of the best interest of their People, with Love and Compassion, not power.” (https://www.poormagazine.org/node/5664)
Earth-Feather is a living example of true leadership, working for the best interest of all People, with Love and Compassion. One can only wonder, in these times, where we would be if our leaders were at all close to this ideal. It’s part of why this is so important, to be recognizing and lifting up these Womxn of Achievement, to remember and honor other ways of being.
Read more about Earth-Feather’s work on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington Facebook Page.
Tanikka Watford Williams has a heart for the community and a love of supply chains and is an advocate for survivors of abuse, and those who have been oppressed. Tanikka formed the first African American woman owned produce Distribution Company, as well as a small batch co-packing company. She has worked in wholesale and retail distribution for over 18 years; her experience includes developing markets, logistics center development, distribution center planning, perishable processing, HACCP, and cooperative buying opportunities in urban and rural areas to increase access to healthy and affordable foods, and resources for all community members. Mrs. Watford Williams has overseen the purchasing, procurement, and distribution of products from farmers with military, schools, prisons, community organizations, wholesalers, and retailers. She has overseen and sourced government contracts for food distribution totaling over 10 million dollars. She has won business pitch competitions and consulted to ensure other companies can be so successful as well.
From her expertise and lived experiences, Tanikka helped has create distribution systems globally in communities of color. She is a strong advocate of small farmers and particularly Black Farmers. She is the creator of National Black Agriculture Awareness Week that got started in July of 2011. She has been recognized as a local hero in the 2012 April Edition of “O” Magazine and has also graced the pages of Family Circle Magazine, Grio, Washington Express, Wall Street Journal, Afro Magazine, ABC News, and the News and Times. In 2010 Tanikka, has had the honor of being recognized by the White House, United Nations, Let’s Move!, the US Department of Agriculture, US Health and Human Services, DC Department of Health, and the Metro Washington Public Health Association for her works in communities. She has served on various policy and community councils and has been very active in advocacy and policy work on the east coast and west coast. She has served on councils Co-Chair and the Commerce Chair of the Live Well DC Community Coalition, as well as the Co-Chair of the DC Cancer Policy Taskforce Advisor, and the White House Let’s Move Community Coalition. She has been recognized as a woman of Achievement by the YWCA, and Leader of Excellence by the Urban League. Tanikka has taught classes ranging from Domestic Violence signs to Supply chain Systems Development.
Mrs. Watford Williams has worked to help the communities for over 20 years. National she has a network of over 597 farmers, 250 organizations, tribes and churches, and Internationally 15 farmers, and 20 organizational leaders to help increase access to goods to communities that need it most. Tanikka believes that food alone will not change our communities, so she works to ensure that community members have access to food, workforce development, and resources to help communities thrive. Tanikka studied Biology, Psychology, and Medical Technology at Tuskegee University in Alabama and Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. Tanikka believes that her calling is to use all of her skills to help the community as a whole Tanikka Watford Williams is the Executive Director of The Moore Wright Group and works daily to put an end to abuse and the cycle of abuse, and be a resource for the community. The Moore Wright Group has partnerships with various companies and organizations to get tangible goods in the hands of families who need it most.
Since COVID-19 The Moore Wright Group has impacted over 500,000 families nationwide. Tanikka is a wife, and mother of seven amazing children ages 21,18, 16, 13, 12, 11, and 10, and is an ordained Pastor.