By Paul Cobb
The Hon. Dezie Woods-Jones has been a trailblazer for women in leadership positions throughout California and the nation for the past 40 years. She’s a former Vice-Mayor for Oakland and now serves as California State President, Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) and CEO/President of the Training Institute for Leadership Enrichment (TILE)
From her early days as an activist in the Student Non-Violent coordinating Committee(SNCC) that marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Julian Bond, John Lewis, Stokeley Carmichael and other civil rights leaders, Woods-Jones has organized, mobilized and helped finance the emergence of women in politics, government and corporate boardrooms. Through the years she and BWOPA have gained the respect of elected officials and leaders throughout the Country.
Whether it was Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Karen Bass, Carol Moseley Braun, Irma Anderson, Ella Hill Hutch, Gay Plair Cobb, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Barbara Lee, Edith Austin, Aileen Hernandez, Mary King, Carol Ward-Allen or Maudelle Shirek, they all know or knew Dezie and have sought her advice, endorsement or fundraising abilities.
When Dezie speaks leaders listen, especially men in power. Oakland Mayor RonDellums would not have been elected to congress without her and the “Dames for Dellums.” Willie Brown leaned on her for his support. Ignacio De La Fuente bows to her. Judge Henry Ramsey refers to her as the judge. Almost all politicians seek to kiss her ring or beg for her blessings.
Her anointment can get you an appointment. Her endorsement can generate endorsed checks to campaign coffers. Her coffee Klatches yield batches of volunteers and precinct walkers. Even though she’s no longer elected to public office she has been selected to lead pastor’s wives nationally. Pulpits will never be the same again and the stained glass ceiling will begin to crack. She’s powerful because she knows how to mobilize women to seek change. She unabashedly uses her gloved hand to demand respect for and an economic fair share for women. When she tips her legendary brimmed hats, politicians relax.
During Women’s History Month the Hon. Dezie Woods-Jones, in conjunction with the Post News Group, will feature diverse women who have made and are making a difference for women and society.
During this first week Belva Davis, Aileen Hernandez, Maudelle Shirek, Irma Anderson, Felecia Gaston,Mary King and Desley Brooks will be featured. For the final week of March, Woods-Jones, who is also a member of the Oakland Private Industry Council, will present women in various jobs and careers. “We want to acknowledge women in faith, politics, government, health, education, finance and entertainment. But most of all we want to honor our mothers, grandmothers, daughters and aunts. During this year of the census we want the world to know that all women count and should be counted on to lead and guide us,” said Dezie Woods-Jones. For nominations and stories call 510-287-8200 or send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.