A final reflection written by Women’s Center student staff member and UMBC Class of 2016 alum, Meagé Clements
Just weeks after graduation, I attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), a conference I had been anticipating for months! I arrived promptly on June 1st, just in time for the Welcome Reception, led by various American Association of University Women (AAUW) National Student Advisory Council members. There, I met just a few of the hard working, inspirational women from across the nation who were attending the conference. There were other Women’s Center staff members, members of university and college SGAs, non-traditional women students, executive board members of student-led organizations, and more.Throughout the evening full of ice-breakers, I learned what many of the women were passionate about changing and accomplishing in the world.
Throughout the various conference sessions, workshops, and even during the informal ice-breaker and night-out activities, I found myself learning several things about myself and how to be a successful woman in a male-dominated society.
1. I have a voice that deserves to be heard. Continue reading
The following post are reflections from rising-sophomore Nitya Kumaran who represented UMBC at this year’s National Conference for College Women Leaders (NCCWSL). When Nitya found herself in my office after attending the conference in May she was full of energy, passion, complex thoughts, and challenges for herself. I asked her to write some of what she was thinking and feeling down so others who didn’t attend the conference could also learn from her leadership journey. Nitya took up this challenge by sharing her thoughts in a conscious-raising way that presents itself as raw and authentic reflection of her journey and growth as a feminist leader.
I Loved You Once
Nitya with Elizabeth Acevedo at the Women of Distinction Awards
At the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders’ Women of Distinction awards, the last award winner was National Slam Poetry Champion — and a woman comfortable with her natural skin and hair — Ms. Elizabeth Acevedo! This Dominican woman had unabashed curls springing from her head like fresh beans from the soil, like flowers in the sun. She had coffee skin and a smile that charmed me to the floor. There were cheers all around and they took on a new volume at the mention of that last phrase. A few black women around me cheered particularly loud and I cheered with them.
Try Fair and Lovely for radiant skin!
The skin-whitening creams, my own dark skin, hate from another place and time struck my mind. I couldn’t fathom the weight of that last accomplishment.
Easily and graciously, Ms. Acevedo’s whole face smiled and thanked us.
“I was a nina de la casa. A girl of the house. That’s all I was expected to be. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that if you want to do that, but I think everyone should have the choice.”
Her own difficult journey to become “her own woman” was shared with us with both hands. We weren’t supposed to become her, we were supposed to become our own women, find our own destiny. Continue reading
On May 27th-30th, I went to University of Maryland, College Park for the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) to present the semester long Campus Action Project (CAP) Women of Color Coalition’s Telling Our Stories in a Workshop dedicated to combating women of color stereotypes. I, one of CAP team members, along with Megan, the advisor of the CAP, had fifteen minutes to talk about the semester long project and how our project addressed the stereotypes women of color are associated with and just importantly how they can reject it in favor for more nuanced stories and counter-narratives.Before I get to the presentation, I would like to talk about overall conference and its inner workings. These include the workshops, the keynote speakers, and the feminist camaraderie. Continue reading