Westmont focuses on presence for a week
Views 16 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 7 - 2018 | By: Sophia Bennett
At the annual Women’s DiversiTEA, a group of women learned from Dr. Deshonna Collier-Goubil about the intersections of race, gender, and criminal justice. Women from Westmont and beyond were joined together in the Founders Room (in the Dining Commons) at 10 AM on Saturday, November 3rd. The gathering, is created and hosted by the Intercultural Programs (ICP). Jason Cha, the Director of ICP, says, “This is one of the annual programs that I inherited from my predecessor, who wanted to create a space to look at the intersection of gender, identity as women, race, ethnicity, and culture.”
There were many different women represented at the tea. There were women ranging in age, ethnicity, race, complexions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and more. Multiple different organizations were also being represented at the Women’s DiversiTEA, including Multi-ethnic Student Association (MESA) and Black Student Union (BSU), which are both branches of ICP. Student leader of MESA, Caleb Rodriguez, was excited for the event, saying that as “a person of color, I know that it can be hard going into the professional world without seeing yourself represented in it. So, I hope that women here can see the speaker today and feel empowered” Shakayla Manwarren, student leader of the Black Student Union, stated that she hopes “that this will create community and that women will be encouraged. It’s just a time for girls to get together and have a good time with some good conversation.”
Every year, the ICP brings a group of about 20-30 students to SCORR (Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation) at Biola, where Cha met the speaker for the event, Dr. Deshonna Collier-Goubil. Professor Collier has a PhD, studies/teaches sociology, and is an administrator at Azusa Pacific University. Her speech was on the topics of gender, race, and criminal justice. She highlighted the way in which Black women are often not accurately represented in the media and in our minds when it comes to the criminal justice system. Throughout her presentation, Dr. Collier-Goubil directed the audience to turn to the people at their tables and discuss these topics. The women in attendance learned from one another as they shared their personal experiences, beliefs, and ideas.
When asked about her motivation for speaking and her hopes going into the event, she says “I feel that God has really put me in this unique situation where I feel like I’m a bridge-builder because I can understand both sides of many different arguments... I hope that the women carry out that we should label ourselves as Jesus people. We should love the people that Jesus loved, who is everybody, but He especially hung out with the oppressed people and the poor people and women. So if we hang-out with some of those same people, perhaps we can learn a little bit more about Jesus.”