A Community Change Agent
When was the last time you volunteered in your community? Before COVID-19, Never? Did you know that by volunteering, you gain more experience and opportunities than you actually give? Rita O. Venable, community change-agent and women’s advocate with a 40-year history of activism is a champion for racial and gender equality both at home and abroad. She has been recognized for her volunteerism at home and abroad as demonstrated with awards such as the Global Guide /Work Exchange Program-Johannesburg South Africa (2003), and the nationally renowned Jefferson Awards for Public Service Certificate of Excellence. Rita Venable started volunteering as a young mother with the simplest thing as being her daughter’s scout troop’s leader when they couldn’t find one. She has four decades later, accomplished so much more after volunteering in causes dear to her. She has not only helped support many women in their healing and rediscovering journeys but also gotten the opportunity to meet and work with women leaders who taught her so much. Rita had previously broken barriers in her youth doing jobs like banking that were not prevalent among black people in her community. Don’t miss her discussion of Black Lives Matter and her thoughts about what can be done.
- Volunteering- learning to do what needs to be done to make things better
- Daring to be different- to do things and achieve what others like you had never done before
- The unfortunate issue of colorism in both the black and white community- not wanting to be offended by black skin
- The importance of teaching domestic violence victims how to self-sufficient through better mental health and skill-building courses
- Pushing for beneficial agendas to the black community like the police action shooting being pushed by the African American coalition
- Learning to help the community as an individual and the importance of organization collaborations
Listen in to learn the importance of volunteering and ideas on some of the causes you can start with.
"I have a passion for getting more women involved in leadership and political roles." -Rita Venable
Rita O. Venable is presently employed with RCI, Inc, (Resort Condominiums International), an industry leader in resort timeshare exchange and vacation travel. She has been employed with RCI for 38 years, with her current positionbeing a Senior Customer Account Specialist. For the previous 6 yrs. she has served on the Spectrum Steering Committee, an affinity group that focuses on the interests of African American employees. She also serves on The Inclusive Council Committee. And as an RCI Ambassador. For 8 years she chaired the annual Breakfast with Santa event”.
Locally known to be a “boundary-crosser” in her hometown of Indianapolis, her quiet and confident presence helped to make way for women of color to break into non-traditional, and often the un-welcoming places of work for black women, such as the banking industry and retail sales. These early professional experiences followed the civil rights movement and confirming what became her lifelong pursuit for equal access to quality education, health, and economic development opportunities by communities of color.
Her commitment to becoming the change she knew to be necessary has found her with 35+ years of membership and leadership roles in the Indianapolis chapters of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), WOMEN4CHANGE Indiana, and the AFRICAN AMERICAN COALITION OF INDIANAPOLIS.
These organizations share the mission to advance public policy and legislative changes to breakdown the institutional barriers to racial and gender equity. Her passion for public policy and advocacy was advanced by her academic and professional training with a B.A. in Business and certification as a paralegal.
As an avid walker, Rita participated in the Indianapolis mini-marathon walking, 13.5 miles each year for 19 years until sustaining injuries. Her year-round walks in preparation for each mini-marathon also prepared her for the many social justice marches and fundraising walks she attended as an advocate for eradicating violence against women, breast cancer, and other.
Rita IS a woman of faith, and a woman of Action!
Listen to how you can be a community activist that cares about the issues that impact the African American community.
Rita describes her first experience volunteering as her daughter’s scout’s troop leader in her early 20s [2:40]
How she broke barriers as a brown-black woman working at a department store that was known to hire white or light-skinned people only [5:20]
The issue of colorism in both black and white communities that started a long time ago and is still perverse today [6:51]
She explains how she became a bank teller, a job not for many black people then and her job as a bank ball worker [8:00]
She mentions some of the organizations she has worked with plus supporting causes helping domestic violence victims [12:03]
How they help women victims at Coburn Place Safe Haven to heal from underlying mental health issues as they skill build to become self-sufficient [15:41]
The African American coalition- what it stands for and the police action shooting agenda they’re currently pushing for [19:55]
She explains the use of force board with the African American coalition in pushing the agenda of surveillance looking at police action shooting other than the police themselves [21:59]
How the National Coalition of 100 Women Indiana chapter is reaching out to and offering help to the Black Lives Matter movement [25:01]
She advises people to do something to help the community they’re in and for organizations to work together for the betterment of the community at large [27:16]
Rita explains why she has a passion for women equality in leadership and political positions [29:59]
How Rita was able to handle motherhood and a successful career life [32:37]