The Black Women’s Educational Alliance was founded in1975 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania by four visionary women who were determined to promote equality, professional advancement and proficiency for Black women in the Philadelphia School District. Over the years the focus of the organization has expanded to include all professions. The organization grew and now has chapters in the surrounding Philadelphia metropolitan area and is seeking to expand beyond the tri-state area. The goals of the organization are: to foster intellectual and professional growth, to familiarize women with issues, trends, laws and policies impacting education, and to prepare women for career advancement in every field.
Margaret Mullen-Whiting is the current president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Women’s Educational Alliance. She is a long time educator and administrator currently retired. “The objective of BWEA is to instill in women the ability, skill and idea that they can continue and move forward in their careers, mostly in education but it can be in anything. We basically mentor educators but we’ve found that women from other organizations, other jobs, and career paths also joined business women are joining.”
The four founders of the organization were all administrators in the Philadelphia school system that saw the need to mentor, develop and guide aspiring teachers and administrators. “They were all administrators at the time who got together to form an organization because there wasn’t any forum to promote women up the ranks of the school district. They started with just twenty women and it has grown ever since.” Mrs. Mullen-Whiting stated.
“We do five things besides mentoring; we do professional development, we do career training, we just did five sessions on how to interview, we give scholarships to young women of color who are graduating from high school preparing to go to college. We will send information to every school in Philadelphia and that includes the charters and parochial schools. All the chapters meet once a month to update each chapter about what is going on and we support each other’s events.”
Mrs. Mullen-Whiting shared the organization is national they just chartered a chapter in Baltimore Maryland, one in New Jersey and they plan to expand farther. “One of the things we want to do is to build the chapters. You go nowhere if you are not spreading the news, giving out information and the need is so great. We’re going into colleges and get the young people who are in education or in those files where they need leadership skills and start mentoring them. We want to establish mini chapters in the area, in the local schools. In any organization if you do not have youth you are not going to go anywhere. Long term our goal is to see us across the nation, sharing information sharing skills and helping one another and training the next generation of leaders. Our job is to train the next leaders.”
“In the end it is about our children. The last piece of our program is to be in the community. We’re putting information about ourselves in the churches. In Philadelphia we have adopted two schools Martin Luther King High School and the Dr. Ethel Allen, we mentor the teachers but we also donate clothing, backpacks and school supplies to the students. We train our females so in the end they can do a better job with the children.”
For more information about the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Women’s Educational Alliance programs visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BWEAPhilachpt/ or the national BWEA Website at http://blackwomenseducationalalliance.yolasite.com