Sharon Sayles Belton Receives 2019 Woman of Power Award
Sharon Sayles Belton is not new to breaking down barriers. She was the first African American and first woman to be elected mayor of the city of Minneapolis from 1994 – 2001. Reflecting on her career, she says it was seeing the neighborhood where she grew up destroyed (Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul) that unleashed a lifelong passion for justice, equity and advocacy.
Expert, Advocate and Leader
Sharon is a nationally recognized expert on public safety, neighborhood livability and public/private partnerships. She is an advocate for youth development, neighborhood development and many public policy issues relating to women, families, children and racial equity. Throughout her career, Sharon Sayles Belton has been a key leader in the establishment of nonprofit organizations like Tubman and the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Impact Across the Twin Cities and the Nation
“I nominated Sharon because her leadership has been deeply impactful in the Twin Cities and, frankly, across the nation,” says Mallory Mitchell, YWCA Minneapolis board member. “She has consistently placed equity at the forefront of her public service and she continues to improve the lives of underrepresented communities through her professional and philanthropic endeavors. Sharon’s impact can be seen in the scores of people of color elected to public office since her eight years as mayor and the continued success of her economic development, anti-racism and women’s empowerment initiatives.”
“She has consistently placed equity at the forefront of her public service and she continues to improve the lives of underrepresented communities through her professional and philanthropic endeavors.” – Mallory Mitchell
“I pledged years ago to fight for justice and equality and be an advocate for civil and human rights,” says Sharon. “I’m honored to share this recognition with my family and my community who have helped shape the foundation of my commitment to public service.”
An Embodiment of YWCA Values
YWCA Minneapolis established the Woman of Power Award last year to honor women across the Twin Cities who have demonstrated commitment, enthusiasm and support for the mission of YWCA Minneapolis. As an activist, policymaker and community leader, Sharon is the embodiment of YWCA Minneapolis’ values for peace, justice, freedom and dignity and we are proud to present her with the Woman of Power Award this year.
“I pledged years ago to fight for justice and equality and be an advocate for civil and human rights.” – Sharon Sayles Belton
Watch the award presentation at this year’s Circle of Women event: