I am here as the president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. I am here as a woman. I am here as a partner in the struggle for equal opportunity and access for - women, men, young people, the elderly, Black, white, Latino and Asian, who are not able to fully enjoy the educational, economic and social benefits of our American society. I am here as a colleague of Mary's, [Mary Lassen, Executive Director, Women's Educational and Industrial Union] who works with commitment and passion on these same issues and with whom I have collaborated and will continue to collaborate to make our city and state the best in the nation in which to live, work and raise a family. I am also here as a mother of two beautiful boys (although my 15 year old will tell you he is a young man), in fact Mary and I met years ago when our sons were pre-schoolers at the Dorchester YMCA pre-school program. Over the years, we have kept one another abreast of Kellen's and David's progress, growth, funny things they say and do, and what our hopes and dreams for them are as they develop into great young men. We are working hard to develop them into good husbands, fathers - in that order, workers, and contributors to the community and the city at large.

The following is a transcript ofthe speech delivered by Joan Wallace-Benjamin at the 121st Annual Meeting of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union held on September 16, 1998.



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