What is African American Women in Santa Barbara County?
The best way to answer that question is to tell you what we are not. We are not an “organization”. There is no membership and no meetings to attend. We are more of an “effort” than a committee. We are the physical evolution of an idea. An idea that started with Ms. Georgette “Wendy” Sims-Moten.
Wendy is an outgoing, activist, African American female who has lived in Santa Barbara County for several years. Wendy is an actress, a singer as well as a wife and mother. She doesn’t just think about something, she acts on it. Each year Wendy is out soliciting donations from sponsors, lining up keynote speakers and inspiring her “True Crew” to make the African American Women’s Luncheon a reality.
What is the African American Women’s Luncheon?
In 2012, (after having had numerous conversations with other African American women), Wendy gathered a few close friends and began a grassroots venture to bring African American women together. The population of African American people within Santa Barbara County is under 3% (US Census QuickFacts) and women were feeling isolated and in need of a support system that understood their needs. The first “African American Women of Santa Barbara County Luncheon” was held February 11, 2012. The event was well attended with over 50 women from a variety of professions, students and retirees. The luncheon that afternoon was a pot-luck style feast prepared by a few. Women connected with old friends and established new friends. Women left feeling inspired and with a renewed sense that there was indeed a community out there.
2016 will be the 5th Annual African American Women’s Luncheon. The numbers have grown from the initial 50 women to well over 80. Women are attending from not only Santa Barbara County but Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties as well. In 2014 the effort changed its name from “African American Women of Santa Barbara County” to “African American Women in Santa Barbara County” in recognition of our expanded attendance.
The effort of the luncheon:
- To invite and encourage as many women of African American descent to attend, we do no exclude anyone (including men) from attending.
- Our keynote speaker will always be an African American Woman.
- To keep costs low.
- All funds collected go towards the luncheon (no paid staff).
The purpose of the luncheon:
- To provide a space and a place for African American Women to “Come Together”.
- “Being together” in the form of networking and supporting each other.
- To build a strong well-connected community of women of color.
The luncheon has been and will always be open to anyone who cares to attend. We encourage female attendance, however, several males are present in support of our efforts. The success of the luncheon is always dependent upon those who attend. We encourage participation and feel that the luncheon “is what you make it”.
Event Flyers from all Luncheons: (Click picture to see a larger version)
Why this website?
The idea for this website grew out of the luncheon. At the luncheon we put up a bulletin board to allow women to post their business card. This was a way to let all women present know what services and/or products were available and to support each other. Of course, not all in attendance were able to see the board, (a lot of activities were going on). We were also cognizant of other needs, such as jobs and housing. We thought that providing a place for all women to come and visit and learn what was going on in their community would be appropriate. We are also encouraging women to support each other by submitting information they believe is relevant.
Chair, African American Women in Santa Barbara County
Co-Chair, African American Women in Santa Barbara County