ABOUT US

The AWP is an advocacy group fighting for equal representation, participation, and policy development for women in the Democratic Party.

OUR MISSION

The American Women’s Party is an inclusive and intersectional organization supporting the rights of all women.

We advocate on behalf of women of all sexual orientations, gender representations, religions, socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, and the disability community.  The American Women’s Party is a platform from which women are empowered to enter public service and to become the female leaders of the future.

The American Women’s Party aims for political parity on the local, state and federal level, as we understand that women are directly affected by policies in ways that are not currently addressed in government. We will fight against prejudice and the double standard by which the achievements of women are judged.

We will focus on issues of voter suppression, healthcare, economics, education, criminal justice, gun sense, non-violent conflict resolution, cybersecurity and the environment with a specific emphasis on the impact of existing laws on women in these areas.

Our goal is to formulate innovative policies to address the complex and daunting challenges of the 21st Century and to advocate on behalf of political candidates that align with our progressive priorities.

The American Women’s Party believes that we, the 51% of the American population, have it within our means to create a more equitable, sustainable, tolerant and compassionate society.

Our Founders

Maya Contrereas

MAYA CONTRERAS

Maya Contreras is a natural-born storyteller, with decades of experience helping people in the margins.

As a Black and Latina woman who grew up poor with two brothers and a single, well-educated mother, Contreras saw first-hand how the government can help or be harmful early in life, after her mother passed away from breast cancer when she was a teenager. She was sent from her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico to Sarasota, Florida to live with her aunt and uncle, where — with the assistance of social security — she and her brothers were less of a financial burden to their new guardians. Contreras decided to pay it forward immediately, by organizing food and clothing drives while attending the Booker Visual Performing Arts high school.

After finishing college at Florida State University, Contreras moved first to Atlanta — where she organized multiple music festivals for Hands on Atlanta and Amnesty International — and then to New York City. She quickly noticed a startling amount of apathy in politics and participation in her new hometown, so — in the midst of building her career as a playwright, actor, artist, writer, co-host, and artist management associate — Contreras became involved in political organizing. She utilized her skills as a storyteller to convince those around her of the importance of the vote; while also attending community town hall meetings and frequently writing to her city council representatives.

Contreras co-founded AWP because she understands that people can fall through the cracks with or without an education, or even with a full-time job. She understands that what the majority of people are looking for on the margins isn’t a handout, but a hand up. She is passionate about helping people acquire the tools to better their situation through education, training, and goal oriented direct action.

Contreras lives with her husband — who is also an artist and writer — in Manhattan.

BETTINA WITTEVEEN

BETTINA WITTEVEEN

Bettina WitteVeen is a political activist, philanthropist and conceptual artist based in New York City. Born and raised in Europe, Bettina emigrated to the United States as a student, graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies/History with a focus on America’s liberation movements. She received extensive economic training as a banker at JP Morgan, New York.

Bettina has a successful twenty-year track record in political activism and building human rights organizations, including an orphanage in Cambodia and a vocational school in Uganda. Her worldwide travels provide her with an international political perspective.

Largely influenced by the German experience of the 20 th Century, Bettina has dedicated her life and work to studying the social dynamics, group psychology, and mechanics of tyranny and war. Her ambitious 2015 photography installation at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital, “When We Were Soldiers… once and young,” earned widespread critical acclaim for capturing the emotional, physical, and spiritual suffering of war.

Bettina dedicates her philanthropic work in the United States to the memory of those generous Americans who helped her mother and other German children who survived on CARE packages after the war.

Bettina’s quest for freedom, truth, and justice inspired her to found the American Women’s Party after the 2016 election. Bettina witnessed first-hand how poor the American experience has become for women, and — inspired largely by Alice Paul’s now-defunct National Woman’s Party, and their methods of peaceful civil disobedience — felt strongly that only women could win the war that had been declared so brazenly against them. She sees the AWP as a vehicle for transformation of the American political and economic landscape, and hopes to bring together other platforms and advocacy groups with the explicit mandate to empower women, to safeguard democratic institutions, and to guarantee the sacrosanctity of all sentient life.

MIA BRETT

MIA BRETT

Mia Brett was born on July 5, 1987. Her mother encouraged her political interest from a young age, claiming that Mia sent a letter to Bush in 1989 to ask him not to go to war. Mia’s mother, Laurel Brett, had been an activist in the 60s and 70s and taught English and Women’s Studies and raised her daughter to think critically and care about social justice. At Barnard, Mia’s dedication to women’s rights and criminal justice reform were encouraged by the environment at a women’s college in New York City. After internships in criminal justice reform Mia went to law school, however after completing one year she left to get a PhD in history specializing in American legal history. During the 2016 election season Mia’s interest in politics and social justice returned and she started one of the infamous secret Hillary facebook groups. Mia is currently living in Brooklyn, teaching legal history, finishing her dissertation, and working for the American Women’s Party.

Doris-Holmes

Doris Holmes

Doris Holmes was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, by the late Christopher and Beaulah Holmes. After graduating from Beaufort High School, Doris attended Guthrie Job Corps in Guthrie, Oklahoma, eventually beginning her career at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry.

She moved to New York in 1989, when she began working as a dental assistant for Dr. Wilfred Heilbut at his midtown office — where she eventually met fellow AWP co-founder Bettina Witteveen. Her interest in social justice comes from her nephew, Rev. Miles Travis Boyd, who erected a scholarship foundation in honor of his mother (and Doris’ baby sister) Elizabeth Holmes — and it was conversations with Witteveen at Dr. Heilbut’s office that inspired her to join the AWP; a movement she feels is for people of all races, color and creed.

She lives in the South Bronx, and is a faithful member at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem.

Doris-Holmes

Aset Chad

Aset Asia Chad is a human right’s activist and highly trained pediatric nurse. She has volunteered with Human Right’s Watch and the organization Memorial. She testified before the Helsinki Commission at the Congress of the United States on war crimes and Human Right’s abuses in Chechnya. She was granted political asylum in the USA and became a naturalized American citizen in 2012.

Her experience as a nurse in active combat has deepened her already existing commitment to pacifism and having experienced first-hand the devastations of gun violence, Aset is a proponent for gun sense.

She joins the AWP to contribute her insight into warfare to the organization’s commitment to non-violent conflict resolution and nuclear disarmament. As a survivor of warfare, Aset strongly supports coverage for traumatized veterans and their families under the American Health Care Act.