[Co-written by Cheyan Swan and Erin Worley]
This Wednesday, March 4, WOU’s Multicultural Student Union (MSU) is hosting their Women of Culture Celebration in the WUC’s Columbia Room. There is no cost to attend, but registration is necessary. Interested individuals can head to MSSP Office during their weekday hours of 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. to sign up. A buffet will be provided, comprised of authentic Jamaican recipes from WOU’s Chef Hopeton.
Esperanza Tervalon-Garret will be the keynote speaker, sharing on behalf of her experience as a queer, Afro-Puerto Rican woman. She is both the founder and CEO of the consulting firm Dancing Hearts Consulting, LLC, whose goal is to, “curate innovative ideas, programs, and campaigns to challenge the status quo and test emerging strategies […] to win long-term change for the people most impacted by systemic oppression.” She is politically active and currently serves as the co-chair for the Funders Committee for Civic Participation.
When speaking to the MSU coordinator and co-president, Makana Waikiki, she noted that this annual celebration was started to, “inspire the upcoming generations of women in our community to be strong and never stop growing and flourishing.” It showcases notable women from our communities, highlighting the challenges women of culture, in particular, face during their lifetimes, as well as how these women have overcome said barriers. Waikiki emphasized that this is a celebration of more than just women who have inspired us in our communities, however–it is also a celebration of the women we interact with day to day. These women influence our lives in great ways, inspiring us and our fellow peers. In turn, it is essential to show appreciation for them and their efforts.
In closing, Waikiki stated, in regard to this event’s attendees and our overall WOU populace, “I hope that the community members will be able to see themselves in the women that we showcase through this event every year. To be able to strive to be the best they can be and to recognize the strength and grace it takes to be a woman of culture. It is also my hope to have the students of WOU see their potential and to strive for the skies, letting nothing get in their way.”