By: Brianna Luu, Contributor
A new organization on campus, the Women of Color Student Association, serves its students by providing theme based discussions on different issues surrounding women of color, while also taking part in encouraging women of color to grow in their leadership abilities. The organization is friendly and cultivates a feeling of community that is present in the meetings.
Eunice Onwuchekwa, President of the Women of Color Student Association and one of its founders started this group to provide a “safe space where women of color can vent and come together with other people who have similar shared experiences.”
“We want to create and provide avenues for women of color in the student body as well as within our communities for leadership opportunities, whether it’s facilitating ways for them to receive scholarships, get internships, and making opportunities more easily accessible,” said Ashley Whidby, Vice President and Public Relations Coordinator of the Women of Color Student Association.
This organization welcomes everyone to join who supports what it seeks to serve and promote. Additionally, this organization also wants to get involved with community service oriented initiatives. “We want to donate to women’s shelters and also help out with the education of middle school and high school students,” said Whidby.
The motivation to start this organization has been driven by issues that involved the marginalization of women of color, including not being given the same opportunities as white women. Onwuchekwa said, “women deal with racism and sexism and also there is a wage gap between white women and women of color. We’re trying to really work towards equality and that’s still something that has yet to be done.”
Women of color, dealing with racism and sexism, face different challenges compared to the general people of color population. As a society “we often focus on the lives of African American males, when African American women have also been faced with instances of social injustice,” said Whidby – “When someone told me about the ‘“say her name” movement’ that tried to shed light on the injustices and unspoken wrongs that are facing women of color it was a no-brainer that we should take this opportunity to seize the moment and try to create a platform that helps unify women of color.”
Discussing different issues at each of their meetings, this organization has addressed the question, “is being colorblind a way to eradicate racism?” In response to this question, there were a lot of different viewpoints. However, the overall consensus of the members came to the conclusion that being colorblind to race is not right. “Being colorblind means it’s just fighting ignorance with ignorance,” said Onwuchekwa. “Not seeing the physical makeup of someone is to ignore the fact that people do face discrimination because of the color of their skin.”
Ultimately this organization speaks for itself, providing t-shirts that can be purchased for $10. “I think it is essential that our shirt says ‘the rise of the women equals the rise of the nation,’ because you cannot expect to go forward if you leave you [sic] women behind and women are the birth of the next generation,” Whidby said.
All photos courtesy of Nicholas Jones.