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Storming Caesar’s Palace: A Black Mother's Movement Against the War on Poverty

We are all too familiar with the struggles that come with being Black in America. It’s 10 times more of a struggle being a Black mother in America. On March 5th, a crowd of grassroots activists, elected officials, and community members gathered for the private screening of Storming Caesar’s Palace, the story of Las Vegas activist Dr. Ruby Duncan and a coalition of Black mothers who led a movement and fought against the war on poverty.

The film, directed by Hazel Gurland, chronicles the life of Ruby Duncan, who fought the welfare system after finding herself out of a job. She quickly discovered the stigma and harassment by an overzealous welfare department. It was at that moment, she knew the system had to change, not just for her, but for future generations of Black women. She garnered the help of Mary Wesley and Alversa Beals and led the fight for adequate income, dignity, inclusion and justice for Black families.

The screening commemorated the 51st anniversary of the day that Ruby led the coalition of women to protest along the Las Vegas Strip, causing it to shut down thus halting tourism. The impact from the protests in 1971 were so grand, it led to businesses pressuring the state to restore previously cut benefits.

Over 100 people filled the Art Houz theater to watch the moving tale. After the screening, the audience participated in a Q&A session with Ruby Duncan, Hazel Gurland, and our Executive Director, Erika Washington. The conversation discussed an array of topics around the disparities among the Black community. "It was an honor to speak with Dr. Ruby Duncan and listen first hand to the stories that changed our landscape here in Nevada. Dignity, respect, and economic equity are still elusive to those who are continually pushed into the margins. It is imperative we continue on this journey using the roadmap given to us by these brave and fierce women", says Erika Washington, Executive Director.

Just like the group of women in the film, we at Make It Work Nevada are a team of activists who are dedicated to improving the lives of our community members. The vital work we do for Nevadans would not be possible without the help of our generous donors. As with everything else, success goes hand in hand with diversity. Therefore, we have compiled a number of ways you may be able to help us. Get plugged in and follow us on social media at Make It Work Nevada or go to our website and sign up for our newsletter, volunteer to be an ambassador, or make a donation. Together, we can move mountains.

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