Second Annual Women of Color Summit Announced

Jacob DeCarli ‘22, Managing Editor

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A reception for alumni, students and staff who identify as women of color took place on Saturday, Sept. 28 to announce the second annual Women of Color Summit to be held in Spring 2020.

This announcement follows a successful first year for the three-day summit where events were well attended by women of color identified members of the Dickinson College community. 

Around 25-30 women of color attended the reception. According to committee member and photographer Bre Westcott ’22, the reception was a space for people to meet each other and also meet the new summit committee. Westcott said that the reception had a “good turnout” due to other events happening during homecoming week. “[Attendees] decided to come to the reception when they’ve could’ve gone to other places, so it was much appreciated,” she said. The reception also allowed people new to the summit to learn more about its purpose while meeting other women of color. According to Nelly Teta ’22, the summit liaison, there were different types of women of color in attendance. “It was just enough people to socialize and get to know each other,” Teta said and explained that she had the opportunity to meet new people.

Plans for the 2020 summit were also discussed by committee members. Plans include continuing the workshops from last year but changing some of their elements. Westcott explained that the committee wants to include women of color leading the workshops from a more diverse pool of career fields because “there’s more jobs out there that women of color have that is important.” The plans for the workshops have not yet been determined, but Westcott highlighted their importance of empowering attendees. “I felt like the workshops were important for the women to improve themselves personally and academically and career wise,” Wescott said, “It will help them when we finish Dickinson and go on to our careers.”

The theme for the 2020 summit has not yet been announced, but the committee has discussed redefining what it means to be a woman of color. Wescott explained that some people may be deterred from attending summit because they do not agree with the definition of women of color. Teta said that the theme and environment for the summit will be more inclusive to “mak[e] sure that all women of color will be represented and that they are welcome to come.”

The summit committee has also made changes to their organization. According to Gita Elangbam ’21, the Women of Color summit Facebook manager and a returning committee member, the planning process for the summit has started earlier than it did last year. “We didn’t do anything during winter break and we thought we had enough time of three months,” Elangbam said, and continued that the committee’s work was “basically rushed.” To avoid the quick planning process of last year, Elangbam explained that there are more executive board positions along with other member positions in areas like social media and outreach. “There will be a more equal balance of power,” Elangbam said. 

The summit will host another allyship event on the Sunday of the event to encourage support for women of color from other members of the Dickinson community. Last year students and faculty who did not identify as women of color were encouraged to attend this event to learn about action steps towards becoming a better ally. Elangbam explained that the event was well received last year with a good turnout from students and faculty. Teta continued that allyship will be an important part of the summit this year. “[It’s] a great way to show who really is your support on campus apart from who already is your support from who you’ve been seeing that weekend,” she said. 

Teta and Wescott, who are both new members to the summit committee, explained the importance of the Women of Color summit at Dickinson. “[…] there needs to be a space for women of color to feel like they are appreciated and seen,” Teta said and continued that there are successful women of color amunae who are not recognized enough in the daily college newsletter. “We just need to make sure they’re [alumae] represented and shown and that can really help other women of color on this campus,” Teta said. 

The second annual Women of Color summit will take place from Friday, March 20 to Sunday, March 22, 2020.