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Under New Chair, Jax Women's Commission More Grassroots, Less 'Corporate'

Williams and Niko
Jessica Palombo

Celebrating successful women is great, but a Jacksonville commission should be doing more to raise all women up — that’s the philosophy of the new chairwoman of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Tangi Williams says she’s helping her volunteer commission get back to its core mission.

But when she took over the 19-member commission a couple of months ago, she says there was a tough transition phase.

“Initially it was quite difficult,” she says, because she was stirring up the way things used to be done.

She’s served on the commission since 2014 and says, before, “We did a lot of corporate things,” often partnering with companies with female leaders to celebrate their success and talk about challenges facing others.

“We spoke about what was happening in this city, but we did not include the voices of those who were being affected,” she says.

To change that, she and other commissioners began going on listening tours through places like the Eureka Garden subsidized housing complex.

Former City Councilman Johnny Gaffney is the mayor’s liaison to about 60 city boards, including the women’s commission. He says Williams has made a big difference in short time.

“A lot of people don’t want to get out there and get their hands dirty," Gaffney says. "So I have a lot of admiration because Commissioner Williams wanted to get out there and walk with the sheriff, walk with the mayor. That’s unusual. That’s very unusual."

Williams’s term ends next month, but her fellow commissioners could vote to keep her on as chair.

Before then, the public is invited to the group’s monthly meeting on Monday, April 25, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lynwood Roberts Room on the first floor of City Hall, 117 W. Duval St.