Results tagged ‘ Rwanda ’

Yankees women get involved

Yankee Stadium may seem an odd place to hold a reception for a support group honoring the survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide until you hear Agnes Gasana speak about the Yankees.

“Of course, we know who they are,” she said. “My boys are Yankees fans. It’s a global team. My daughter now has a Yankees t-shirt.”

She is the wife of Eugene-Richard Gasana, the Rwandan Ambassador to the United Nations. Son Ivan Kagame was with her Wednesday evening in the H&R Block Lounge on the Suite Level where the women of Yankee Stadium joined forces with Same Sky to honor the HIV-positive women artisans who have hand-crafted bracelets through its trade-not-aid initiative to affect change in Rwanda.

“It’s great to showcase our cause to the world and help support the organization,” Kagame said. “It gives us some dignity and show that we are working toward something. Everybody watches the Yankees.”

Founded in 2008, Same Sky is a fair-trade company whose mission is to inspire a movement of women empowering women as part of the global effort of lifting women out of poverty by giving them tools to become entrepreneurs and lead self-sustaining lives. The bracelets are made of hand-blown glass beads and crocheted by women artisans. Each bracelet carries the signature of the woman who made it.

The event was hosted by Safe Sky founder Francine LeFrak, Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman, Mindy Franklin Levine and Sadye Zillo of Women of the New York Yankees organization, Legends Hospitality, the YES Network and Securitas to bring awareness to this cause. This was not some old-fashioned Ladies Day turnout.

“The Yankees’ brand is a global brand,” Ackerman said. “We can bring attention to this effort. We don’t think of it as a traditional fund-raiser. The goal is for this program to be self-sustaining. It’s great to see [team president] Randy Levine and [general manager] Brian Cashman wearing the colored bracelets. The organization brought some black bracelets for the men. It’s good to see them come out of their shell.”

“This is a dream come true,” LeFrak said. “It is our mission at Same Sky to give our artisans the freedom to make these choices. We aim to provide these women with a reliable income that will lead to independence, economic empowerment and hope for a better future. This is about empowering women. The women with the Yankees are all about empowerment.”

“That comes from Mr. [George] Steinbrenner,” Afterman said. “He used to tell people that he was a sexist, yet he was always interesting in hiring the best people, many of whom were women. When I first came here, I was really impressed with how many women were in key positions.”

Many of those women were proudly displaying bracelets Wednesday night. More information about the movement is available at