Black women and girls met in Oxon Run Park in Washington, DC, on a warm Saturday evening for WANDA’s Sisterhood Supper: Juneteenth Celebration. The event, organized by Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics, and Agriculture (WANDA), paid tribute to black women leaders in food justice, nutrition, and the culinary arts. Among the esteemed honorees were Chef Tommi Vincent, co-founder of Vincent Country, and Chef Marley Holland, both influential figures in their respective fields.
At the heart of this celebration was the goal of fostering unity among black women and girls through cooking, gardening, and educational activities centered around food and nutrition. The attendees were treated to a special Juneteenth-themed menu, featuring tantalizing dishes such as Nigerian jollof rice, kale salad, and baked chicken, skillfully prepared by Chef Fumi and City Soul Cuisine.
WANDA’s mission is to empower black women and girls to advocate for healthy food policies and nutritional practices while actively addressing the issue of food deserts through agricultural initiatives. The organization places great importance on drawing from the wisdom of ancestors to drive positive change within the food system.
Founded by CEO Tambra Raye Stevenson in 2016, WANDA has been at the forefront of combating food inequities through research and direct advocacy. Stevenson is joined by accomplished health professionals like advocate and dietician Franciel Ikeji, as well as Dr. Ashiru Abubukar.
Prior to the celebration, Stevenson emphasized the importance of solidarity, stating, “We are doubling down on putting sister into sisterhood more than ever at this year’s Juneteenth Celebration by inviting women to truly become my sister’s keeper within the food system as we fight for food freedom. We are not only tackling food waste but using it as a metaphor of how Black women’s time, talent, and treasure must not be wasted in honoring our value to ourselves, our community, and building a better food system.”
Infinite Legacy and Whole30® were proud supporters of this year’s celebration, recognizing the significance of food waste and food justice as interconnected climate change issues. The event was gracefully hosted by digital storyteller Allyson Finch Wilson, who shared her personal connection to the cause, stating, “The Sisterhood Supper is incredibly meaningful for me, as a climate equity storyteller, because food waste and food justice are climate change issues.”
Juneteenth means freedom to grow and eat good nutritious foods. Our forefathers were not fed the best, but today we have the ability to choose to feed our families better. Young people please make the most of that freedom today. – Opal Lee
As a nonprofit organization, WANDA raises funds through its Food Shero Freedom Fund. This year’s Sisterhood Supper aimed to achieve a donation goal of $25,000 to establish an endowed scholarship supporting Black women pursuing degrees in nutrition, agriculture, culinary arts, and dietetics at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).
Speaking to the significance of the event, ANC Commissioner Jamila White highlighted the resilience of women, particularly during the pandemic, stating, “During this pandemic, women worked on the frontline of our homes, healthcare, and food systems, from hospitals to grocery stores. Now, with the current impact of inflation on food prices, women must continue to share resources and cooking practices to sustain our families, especially during times of economic uncertainty.”
The Sisterhood Supper is just one part of WANDA Week, a week-long series of events dedicated to honoring the contributions of Black women and girls in the food system. The festivities include a garden day and a Juneteenth Walk, along with events held at local Black women-owned restaurants such as Flavorture and Player’s Lounge.
The success of the Sisterhood Supper serves as a glimpse into the powerful work that WANDA has in store for the remainder of the week.
Contact WANDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202)770-1160.
Check out the WANDA Week schedule on their website.