Women Working Together hosts 2nd annual women’s interfaith conference

Group photo of conference participants.
Photo: Charlene Muhammad

LOS ANGELES ( – Women and girls of various faith traditions assembled the Women Working Together 2nd Annual Interfaith Conference and Retreat in Century City August 10-12 with a common mission–to unite, heal, educate, inspire, enlighten, empower and strengthen women.

Carmin Muhammad and Sonya Muhammad, co-executive directors of Women Working Together, staged the retreat at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel and participants delivered its signature informative workshops, hair and fashion showcase, banquet and awards ceremony.


A morning press conference began the interactions between the primarily Muslim and Christian women, who traveled from cities as far as New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Special conference guests included Dr. Maki Mandela, the eldest daughter of former South African President Nelson Mandela, also the Executive Director for Enviro/Serve, a major petroleum and mining corporation in South Africa; Carolyn Jones, CEO of PrivacyWear, Debra Crosslin, award winning fashion show moderator; and film and T.V. actress Theresa Randall (Lifetime’s State of Mind).

PrivacyWear, a conference sponsor, is a California-based clothing company that helps to finance research for a cure for cancer by donating a percentage of its sales from apparel revenue. Ms. Jones started the company after she lost her mother to breast cancer.

Women Working Together aimed to present modest, refined women of God and it did, according to Dr. Mandela, conference keynote speaker and recipient of the Women Working Together 2007 International Business Woman of the Year award, presented at the Purple Carpet Awards on closing night.

“The way you carry yourselves is something that has to be packaged and sold to the world,” Dr. Mandela stated during her keynote address. “What we have to learn is to package the simplest things and make them available and I say to you, my Sisters, in the Nation of Islam (NOI), you have something wonderful that Minister Louis Farrakhan has given you and most of us have lost it,” she said.

(l-r) Co-executive directors of �Women Working Together,� Sonya Muhammad and Carmin Muhammad with keynote speaker, Dr. Maki Mandela. Photo: Malcolm Ali

The awards included a tribute to Dr. Mandela by the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, including the South African National Anthem. Artist Aziza Lisa performed several songs between presentations.

Dr. Mandela championed self-love, self-determination and the oneness of human struggles, and said that there has been a set back in terms of the struggle because people have settled in their comfort zones. “We no longer want to actually challenge the status quo but let me tell you, if we are comfortable in our comfort zone, the evil that was vested on us will be repeated again. Whether we are here in America or in the African Continent, we need to stay alert. We should not relax,” Dr. Mandela insisted.

The audience erupted when she announced that she is moving to take the Women Working Together conference to the women of South Africa next year.

“All praise is due to Allah, because it is only by His grace and when we are obedient to His will that we obtain power and influence and are able to inspire women from every walk of life. This is truly another level of manifestation of what God will do for you when you are obedient to his will,” Sis. Carmen stated.

Attendees gave a standing ovation when Betsy Jean Farrakhan, daughter of Minister Louis Farrakhan and former National MGT-GCC Captain for the NOI, accepted her award. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that honor is not due until the work is done, so I’ll accept this award as encouragement for me to continue the work of reform of our women and girls until the job is done,” she declared.

Maria Farrakhan, her younger sister, noted, “I am just so honored and overwhelmed that an award such as this was given to my sister, Captain Betsy Jean Farrakhan, and I think when we as women honor women of greatness Allah continues to bless us as women.”

Co-honorees were Mother Evelyn Muhammad (Mother of the Faithful),

Barbara Pershay Muhammad (The Scales of Justice), Dale Clinton and Saabah Muhammad (Community Service), Rashidah Ena Muhammad (Excellence in Leadership), Dorothea Muhammad and Audrey (Business Women of the Year), Shelby Muhammad (Key to Knowledge), Barbara Becnel (Stanley Tookie Willliams Courage Award), Dr. Arisah Muhammad, Elaine Williams and Kathi Arnold (I’m My Sister’s Keeper), Syreeta Wright Muhammad, who succumbed to cancer (Woman of Substance); Cookie Johnson (Healthcare Award) and Pauletta Washington (Heritage Award of Lifetime Achievement).

During the “Your Credit is the Key to Your Wealth” workshop, Sis. Dorothea of Muhammad’s Mosque No. 15 in Atlanta, Ga., dispelled myths around credit scores, cleaning credit reports, and afterward she provided complimentary one-on-one counseling, including a free credit report, to workshop participants.

Audience enjoys fashion show extravaganza. Photo: Harold Muhammad

Other workshops focused on How to Eat to Live, divine dietary laws taught by the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, secrets to becoming God’s woman, methods to positively transform marriages and a youth town hall meeting.

Breakout sessions included spa treatments and the Shop ‘Til You Drop and Bus Tours of Los Angeles, which escorted the women to L.A.’s historic shopping and garment districts. Vendors offered purses, clothing, books, soaps and oils, music and coffee throughout the weekend, while the Fashion Showcase featured Muslim clothing designers throughout the NOI and PrivacyWear.

“Oh, that was just fantastic! I just looked at these ladies, all out of the box, dressed so modest and pretty and I loved it. You don’t have to be showy because you’re going to be looked at anyway because you’re a woman. And I just loved the workshops, especially on becoming God’s woman. That Sister spoke the truth, has the spirit of God in her. I was so uplifted,” stated Gladys Gowens of Monroe, LA.

“The conference was a wonderful success. It was an inspiration. The Sisters were able to express their talents that we’ve learned and gained in MGT and I can’t wait for next year,” stated Georgette Muhammad, CEO of Freedom Apparel, a California-based clothing company, which specializes in garments made of fine silk and linens.