Excellence and Beyond: Women of Color Club Hosts “GroundbreakHERS Conference”

Courtesy of Mousa (@flixbymoe on Instagram)

By Rami Mansi and Paulina Gajewski

 

   Women of Color (WOC) at Brooklyn College, in collaboration with the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), held the “GroundbreakHERS Conference” in the Student Center on March 5. The conference brought together 11 female panelists of color to celebrate, discuss, and share their experiences and knowledge in their respective areas of expertise.

   The Women of Color at BC specializes in the upliftment, academic welfare, and emotional well-being of women of color on campus and the general student body according to their mission statement. The theme of the conference was “Celebrating the untold stories and resilience behind today’s successful women.” WOC President Wisdom Obadofin began with an opening address and introduced the host “IvieTheMC.” A strong intention was to create a dynamic and supportive space where attendees could learn, thrive, and be inspired.

   “I think it was a really good thing that we could come together and make this happen, different women from varying backgrounds being up close and personal,” Abigail Edouard, Vice President of WOC and senior at BC, told The Vanguard. “From influencers to med school students and everyone in between. They’re living proof that anything is possible.”

   Panelists included Harvard and Columbia law graduate and beauty influencer Eni Popoola, data engineer and makeup artist Grace Eniton, entrepreneur Farra Saint-Flavin, social worker Emmanuella Duroska, and more.  

   “As a new member of the e-board, there wasn’t a moment where I felt out of place with anyone,” Dakota Mitchell, Academic Affairs Coordinator and a freshman at BC, told The Vanguard. “The environment, as well as the speakers’ moving statements, gave the event a radiance that was felt throughout the entire night.”  

   To create a welcoming and dynamic environment, attendees engaged in rounds of icebreakers. Shannon Dyett and Tamia Gordon, members of WOC, delighted the audience with a poem, leading the way for IvieTheMC to introduce the panelists. 

   The first section of the panel was brought to an end with the intermission, during which Edourad sang “Never Enough” from the 2017 movie “The Greatest Showman,” a moving ballad regarding the pursuit of success. After the conclusion of the second panel, WOC member Rebecca Turay performed the song “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, a testament to self-acceptance and inner beauty. 

   To close off the event, Obadofin provided a final address followed by an hour of networking, refreshments, and fellow interaction. 

   Edouard delivered a statement revolving around a quote from rapper and artist Nicki Minaj. “‘Barbz stay in school, don’t even be lazy, don’t you ever complain about hard work. Work hard, it pays off.’ The conference was able to give all of these ‘work hard, play hard’ concepts a sense of personality,” stated Edouard. “So if they can do it, why can’t be, you know?”

   The preparation needed to host an event of this size and influence was no small feat. “When we landed on a title and theme for the event in December, we went in full steam ahead with all preparations. I think that seeing the impact of hearing the feedback from attendees is truly encouraging and makes it all very worthwhile,” Obadofin told The Vanguard. “We had women who came in from Philadelphia and Miami for our little group at BC, and everyone truly poured out virtue.” 

   WOC at BC hopes to continue events like this in the future. “I hope that this can be a recurring event for Women of Color, these avenues are very vital in maintaining motivation and inspiration,” Obadofin told The Vanguard. 

 

   Women Of Color can be found on Instagram @womenofcolor_bc, hosting events and programs throughout the semester.

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