After serving under two U.S. presidents and accomplishing much in her career, Ambassador Suzanne Johnson-Cook came off her sabbatical in October 2013 with the vision for ProVoice (ProVoz) Movement, the 21st century answer to both civil rights and the women’s liberation movement an inclusive organization those left in the R.E.A.R. (racial, ethnic, and religious minorities).
“ProVoz was birthed out of the need for inclusion,” said Cook. “After serving at the senior level of government twice, both in the Clinton administration and Obama administration as a senior level appointee and you go around the globe few black and latina women are at the table or even in the conversation.”
The Harlem native has decided to launch ProVoice/ProVoz by honoring four extraordinary women that she’s known and admired for years.
On Monday, September 22, her organization is hosting an award ceremony honoring the wives of the “Legendary 4” in Harlem: Joyce Dinkins, Alma Rangel, Leatrice Sutton, and Portia Patterson, along with Councilwoman Inez Dickens for her community service at the Gran Piatto D’Oro restaurant on Fifth Avenue.
“I wanted to come back to my village not wanting, but giving,” said Cook, feeling so loved by her “village” in Harlem. The four dynamic, elegant, extraordinary women of Harlem are all still alive and have never been honored collectively.
“The village of Harlem is coming out to express our thanks to them and what they’ve done, what they’ve meant to us.”
As wives of African American political leaders their stories are not as well-known as their husbands, but an integral part of our history and important as the next generation moves forward to make change. Acknowledging them is a great example of things to come from ProVoice/ProVoz Movement because its about including women and giving them a voice.
As a woman of faith and power Ambassador Cook wants to bring together women for what she calls “Faith Feminism” through this organization. Recognizing that all women have a spiritual strength no matter what religion, faith, or belief system they come from.
“Faith feminism says that many of us operate out of our faith and we have a spiritual component to our lives and we’re activist in how we carry that out that’s central to how we operate,” said Cook.
This was very apparent during her time as U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom. “People across the globe might have had a difference from what their belief was but the common ground was we were BELIEVERS.”
Another topic that is sensitive to women issues but typically discussed by men in the law making process is pro-choice or pro-life. Cook believes that matters such as this it shouldn’t be an either or for women.
“Pro-choice and pro-life are limiting options usually directed by men and a woman should have a voice in every arena of our lives,” she said.
The topics of faith, pro-life or pro-choice, and more can be discussed at ProVoz Movement monthly meeting. This inclusive organization has started in the U.S. launching in New York and Los Angeles, but will also focus on other U.S. cities, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean.
Women can join ProVoice Movement online at www.provoicemovement.com or apply at the launch event on Monday. There will be meetings held every second Wednesday of the month where women can join and participate.
“We’re going to have what we call the sisters gatherings and they will be various places in New York,” said Cook.
The first Sisters Gathering will be held at the Studio Museum on 125th from 6 to 7 p.m. for an hour of power to hear inspirational speakers, share their stories, and collaborate.
“The hope is that it explodes and becomes a global movement,” said Ambassador Cook.
One of the first countries in Africa that ProVoice/ProVoz Movement plans to launch is Ghana.
For more information about the ProVoice/ProVoz Movement Awards on Monday visit http://provoicemovement.com/fundraiser.html