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We Grow When We Look Outwards
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Diane Bevan, executive director of the Idaho Women’s Business Center, introduces Susie Rios.
   
Saturday, April 30, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Trish Walker grew up in a five-block radius of Boise that was made up of black families, many of them her grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles and aunts.

“I couldn’t understand why it was not the same for my white friends, but later I learned it was because we lived in a redline district,” she said, referring to the practice of mortgage lenders to keep black families in certain neighborhoods. “But there’s so much I gained from living amidst my relatives. They engaged with one another and when one person was down they picked that person up.”

Walker, who went on to work at Micron Technology, said she wants to create that same kind of connection among those who work at Micron, those who live in Boise where she is a fourth-generation Idahoan and those who live in the state of Idaho.

 
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Trish Walker founded the Idaho Black Community Alliance to embrace black culture, engage the black community, empower the black community and advance black youth.
 

“I love my community and, when I say ‘my community’ I don’t mean just my black community. I don’t mean just my Boise community. I mean my whole Idaho community,” she told more than three dozen people taking part in a women’s networking and leadership luncheon hosted this week by the Boise-based Idaho Women’s Business Center and IWBC Latinas Network.

Walker encouraged those gathered at Hailey’s new Town Square Center to make an effort to meet Idaho’s black community via events like the Aug. 13 Boise Soul Food Festival, a day of soul food, music,  dancing and workshops about African-American history, hair care and social justice issues in Julia Davis Park.

Walker founded the Black Community Alliance (IdahoBCA.com) in 2021 for several reasons: To introduce black youth in Idaho to their history, heritage and culture. To assist black entrepreneurs. And to promote and preserve the African American culture and community in Idaho.

“Diversity, inclusion and equality,” Walker told attendees, who included representatives from The Advocates, The Hunger Coalition the Hailey Public Library and the Hailey Police Department.

“We should have a black person in the room. We should have a Latin American in the room…All these people should have a voice at the table. And diversity is not just about race—it’s about ethnicity…everything that makes us us,” she said. “We need to sit down and learn things about one another that we don’t know. We need to make sure others are not only invited but that they are part of the conversation, that they are part of making decisions.”

Walker said people need to be open to getting out of their comfort level and out of the box.

“We ‘re creatures of habits but sometimes we need to break habits. You may say this position requires a college graduate. Does it?” she asked. “When you’re looking to include, that’s when you’re growing because you’re looking out.”

Susie Rios, statewide outreach director for the Idaho Women’s Business Center, told attendees that those who can should create opportunities for others.

She recounted how she grew up in Burley, the daughter of parents who had only an elementary school education but who were passionate advocates for farmworkers. When she was 17 and working at a potato packing plant, someone recommended her to represent the National Association of Farmworkers in Washington, D.C.

It was a terrifying proposition for a young girl who had never flown, who had never made a long-distance phone call and who found herself among people very different from those she’d grown up among. But she spent the summer amidst Congressmen in Washington, D.C., working for Cesar Chavez, and it unlocked a new world to her.

“If you have a position of authority, give others an opportunity,” she said.

PERSONAL BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA

The Idaho Women’s Business Center will hold a Women’s Entrepreneur Workshop for Spanish women on Personal Branding and Social Media May 6 in Twin Falls. The free workshop will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. that evening at the Twin Falls Reform Church at 1631 Grandview Drive N.

 Call 208-731-0030 or 208-312-5774 for more information. Or, call the Idaho Women’s Business Center at 208-996-1570 or email info@IdahoWomen.org

LOOKING FOR HELP?

Findhelpidaho.org can connect people to free and reduced-cost housing and utility assistance, education services, transportation and help. Findhelpidaho.org, provided by the United Way and Idaho Health Data Exchange, is free and confidential.

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