Temple University Women of Color hosts 10th anniversary summit

Attendees of the summit celebrated diversity and discussed issues that women of color face.

Director of Multicultural Education and Training Valerie Dudley speaks at the Temple Women of Color summit held in Alter Hall on Oct. 25. | FATIMA UMAR

On Oct 25., the Temple University Women of Color held a summit celebrating their 10th anniversary in Alter Hall. 

Video by: Maria DiPietro

The organization was created in 2009 with the purpose of empowering women of color. In TU-WoC, members come together and are given the chance to tell their stories and gain new connections with other women of color, said co-founder Marie Amey-Taylor during her speech at the event, which attracted around 25 people.  

“We need to celebrate our diversity,” Amey-Taylor said. “Women of color need to have a safe space where they can express themselves, find their voice and support one another.”

Other speakers included Nina Ahmad, a former candidate for Pennsylvania Lt. Governor, Philadelphia’s 7th District Councilwoman Maria D. Quinones-Sanchez and Rashida Ng, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design.

During a panel, each speaker discussed how they found their own voice, stood up for themselves and taught their children to do the same.

It is important for women of color to create safe spaces and develop solidarity with one another, Ahmad said. 

“It is important to be yourself,” she said. “Surround yourself with people that you can be yourself with.”

Ng said she enjoys when other people assume who she is on the basis of her appearance because she has the chance to challenge their perceptions.

“I love it when people assume that I am an underdog,” Ng said. “That way I can use my voice to challenge their perspective.”

Later, Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake, the president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, discussed how different books from “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss to the Bible have taught her important life lessons.

“Empowerment is key,” Marshall-Blake said. “It’s important to build that spiritual energy and connection between one another. It’s also important to show that you should try something out of the ordinary.”

Valerie Dudley, the director of Multicultural Education and Training at the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership and Kimberly Sakil, the assistant director of the Online MBA program at the Fox School of Business, who both helped organize the event, presented framed dedications to Tiffenia Archie, the assistant vice president of IDEAL, and Amey-Taylor for creating and leading TU-WoC.

In the final event, members participated in interactive presentations. 

Amey-Taylor guided members through the InterACTion Style Assessment, a personality test that divided participants into groups based on their communication styles.

Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, the associate professor of the Division of Theater, also helped members write haikus. Both presentations were designed to help viewers openly express their voice, Dudley said.

“This event was definitely a success,” Dudley said. “People’s reception was positive. This group makes people empowered and shows them how to find their voice.”

“It was very successful,” Sakil said. “I can’t wait till we do it next.”

Attendees said the summit helped them recognize that they are not alone.

“I feel better informed on how to self-care,” said Lisa Brice, the front desk manager for Morgan Hall North Residence Hall. “I also am reminded that I am not alone. There are other people who go through the same difficulties that I go through. It’s nice to be reminded that there are others like you.”

“It’s really necessary to have organizations like this,” said Yvonne Muchemi, manager of administration in the Center for Humanities history and religion department. “When it is still difficult to find other women of color, it’s nice to be able to go to meet other women of color.”

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