Plans for Spring 2021 Women of Color Summit Return After Last Year’s Cancellation

Jacob DeCarli '22, Senior Reporter

The Women of Color Summit plans to host its annual spring event virtually in 2021, after the 2020 summit was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Dickinson’s campus. 

The summit, which is scheduled for the end of March 2021, will mirror the structure of the 2019 summit with workshops and guest speakers. However, all events will take place over Zoom. 

According to Patricia Santos ’22, summit treasurer , the group was disappointed to not host the Spring 2020 summit, so the planning committee decided to incorporate more workshops and guest speakers to make up for last year’s cancellation. “Our goals have been the same, to try to create a safe space for women of color at Dickinson,” said Santos. 

Himeno Yamane ’22, summit secretary, was part of the executive board last year and dedicated her time to the formation of this year’s summit. Through the help of Bronte Burleigh-Jones, vice president of finance & administration at Dickinson, Yamane started the process of organizing applications for the 2021 planning committee in the summer. Additionally, Yamane said that those students on the executive board last year could retain a position on this year’s board. “[I]t wouldn’t have been fair if we had a whole application process again,” she said. 

The executive board recognized the new challenges of reaching out to first-year students about the summit. Unlike previous years, first-year students are not on campus to see the advertisements and attend the in-person meet and greets with the executive board. So far, the board has reached out to first-year students through social media posts and email. However, Yamane said that, “It has been really difficult just reaching out to other students on campus especially when everything is online.” 

In addition to outreach, the Women of Color Summit has hosted virtual, preliminary workshops centered around issues relating to women of color, including an event about Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman shot and killed by police following a raid in her apartment, and a workshop regarding racism against the Asian community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Santos said “We are also trying to build a reputation among the first years by hosting these preliminary workshops.”

Overall, Santos and Yamane are excited for this year’s summit because of the work done by the planning committee and executive board. “I think that the most important rule is that COVID can’t stop trying to make this safe community,” said Yamane. She added that the committee will strive to promote a safe space for women of color on Dickinson’s campus. “Dickinson knows that we are going to keep going to make Dickinson a better place for everyone,” she said.

The Women of Color Summit started in 2019 from the leadership of students. According to the Dickinson College website, “The summit will serve as a platform to empower women of color to live intentionally, cultivate successful careers and strengthen their network.”