Women of color on campus are determined to create a supportive and united environment said Kristin Black, co-president of Black Women’s Collective, a fact that was demonstrated at the Health Fair by the orange armbands that were worn by the group’s supporters.
According to the women of color who organized the event, the armbands, which came in various shades of orange, were a statement of empowerment and unity for all groups of color in the Mills community.
“We have to come together as one before, we can implement change,” said sophomore Marina Rodriguez. “Otherwise we might as well give up.”
Veronica Williams, sophomore and member of BWC, said that some of the goals they wish to achieve are to recruit and retain students of color and to establish a diversity house. Also, changes that women of color would like to see take place include the hiring of more faculty of color and the expansion of the ethnic studies department.
“Mills prides itself of having so much diversity, however, there hasn’t been a lot of action geared towards attracting and keeping women of color on campus,” said Williams. “The illusion of diversity is one of the problems that plagues our community, which is why we can’t settle.”
“If we insist on maintaining these conditions we’ll be denying the vital foundations that have created a space for all women to make real change,” she said.
Lisa McRipley, director of student diversity programs, said she believes that the armbands served as a beautiful symbol and said that she completely supports the women and the goals that they have set for themselves.
Alysha Grevious, co-president of BWC, and other supporters of diversity, walked through the fair with handfuls of bright orange armbands in hopes of getting other students involved.
“I never really do anything so by participating in this event its giving me a sense of pride and allowing me to feel more involved,” said sophomore Sukrita Blackburn.
Overall, the event symbolized solidarity and visibility for women of color and their allies.
McRipley said that nearly 100 students participated in the event. And with the growing number of students of color actively organizing to increase their visibility and importance, the determination of achieving their goals grows stronger.