Women of color discuss lack of representation at Sonoma State University

Mayra Lopez
Written by Mayra Lopez

The lack of representation that women of color often see in academia was a topic broadly discussed at the 3rd Annual North Bay Womxn of Color Conference, organized by Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS), with participants voicing that they do not feel “seen” at higher education institutions like Sonoma State University where the event took place Saturday.

“Sonoma State University is a predominantly white institution, so we wanted to create a great space to feel empowered as women of color, especially in academia,” said Gabriela Davila, a Women and Gender Studies major at Sonoma State University and one of the two organizers of the event.

Around 100 women attended the conference aimed to bring women of color and allies together in order to grow a stronger community. The day-long event offered a variety of workshops centered around the theme of “Community healing through intersection.” Participants traveled from Sonoma County, the Bay Area and as far as Sacramento to attend the gathering.

“I think it’s important because it’s a place for women of color to take the first step in order to build community and get to know others who are sharing similar experiences,” said Davila.

“Community healing through intersection” was chosen as the theme because as co-organizers Davila and Thalia Nieves pointed out, it is an important aspect of social justice movements and community healing as a whole.

“Intersectionality is important because in recognizing and honoring our differences, it can help us in interacting with others and create a more powerful community of women of color.”

A spiritual ceremony performed by Danza Azteca Ohtli Yoliliztli from Santa Rosa opened the event. The Danza group featured women dancers and led participants through a prayer, creating a sense of connection that resonated throughout the day.

Workshops such as “Breaking the barriers of Middle Eastern culture”, “Emotional resilience” and “Ay Güey! A dialogue on the continuous struggle with capitalism and diet culture” allowed participants to engage in conversations around the challenges and realities that women of color experience. Many focused on empowerment and using self-care as a way to combat the barriers that they encounter.

The conference came together with sponsorship from the PUERTA program (Preparing underrepresented educators to realize their teaching ambitions), as well as the American Multicultural Studies, Women and Gender Studies and Chicano/Latino Studies departments of Sonoma State University.

[Versión en español]

Noticias y eventos desde la región vinícola del norte de California para la comunidad latina.

Posted by La Prensa Sonoma on Wednesday, February 7, 2018

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