Women of Color Collective honors end of Black History Month

The Women’s Center along with the Black Student Union (BSU), Organization of Latin Unity (OLU) and Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA) hosted their annual event, the Women of Color Collective Social on Tuesday. The event was an ode to the end of Black History Month and a kickstart event for Women’s Herstory Month on campus.

The event invited everyone to a warm and inviting space to talk and connect with others on campus. Students ranged from the three major clubs on campus and included students from the Women’s Center who came to learn more about the community at Ramapo.

With being a Predominantly White Institution, spaces or events like this allow students to feel like they belong and can see others who are like them.

“It is meant to uplift the community of women of color on campus and people who identify as a woman of color on campus,” said Women’s Center Student Marketing & Program Coordinator Ariana Ramirez in an interview with the Ramapo News. “It’s an event to gain community and do fun activities.”

The night included icebreaker activities, a discussion, affirmation jar making and bracelet making. The event was set up to be a light and inviting event for students to let down their barriers and share their experiences in life or on campus. Students from all different races and years were encouraged to share their personal experiences and get to know each other to create a small community on campus.

“As someone who identifies as a Latina, it means a lot coming from someone who never really has the privilege to share their insight and their perspective,” Nicole, a volunteer at the Women’s Center, said in an interview. “I am glad we have an event like this to talk to others and relate our experiences.”

The event kicked off with food from Sonny and Tony’s as well as a “get to know you” exercise where everyone could chat about their life since coming back for the semester. Talks of spring break and their club events, which are expected to go on for the rest of the semester, were shared.

After food was served, the event started with an icebreaker round of bingo to get people talking and create a space where everyone felt included and free to talk. The bingo winner received a notebook with a woman of color on the front with positive affirmations placed inside the book.

To transition to the next activity, BSU Secretary Desiree Bounds led the Women of Color in Leadership discussion and bracelet making. The student-led discussion dove into students’ experiences on campus and opened the floor to discuss their experiences as a woman of color. Everyone was asked to share their ideas and anything that was bothering them regarding their identity.

Jennifer Lopez, one of the event’s attendees, shares how important this event is to her and others like her. 

“I hope to get to know more people on campus and learn about their experiences here on campus. The discussion helped me realize that there are others like me. It is very refreshing to know that,” she said.

Towards the end of the night, the group broke off into smaller groups to debrief about the night and continue discussing their personal experiences in life and here on campus. Talks of icons, pushing past barriers and mental health were heard around the room, creating a safe space to let out feelings and feel seen and heard.

Closing off the night, students were encouraged to create affirmation jars to mark down their feelings and to create an outlet for them to relax and be themselves.

“This is an event where I feel there are more people like me that understand me and that is comforting,” Ramirez said. “It was a way to break barriers and bring people together to feel seen and heard in our community.”




Featured photo courtesy of Kim Ventresca