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Panel to discuss treatment of women of color

Panel to discuss treatment of women of color


Several campus clubs and offices are extending an invitation to members of the campus community to join a virtual panel discussion on how women of color are treated in society.

The forum honors Women’s History Month by hosting “Black Lives and Liberation Forum: Supporting Women of Color” on Thursday, March 11.

The Webex event will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Presented by the Black Student Union, Campus Activities and Corey Union Office, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office, NAACP, and Residence Life and Housing Office, the event continues the Black Lives and Liberation Forums that have been occurring since June 2020.

Advance registration is required and can be done by completing a form online. Registrants will receive the Webex meeting room details two hours prior to the event start.

The eight panelists include:

  • Adriana Arcangel, a junior majoring in business and economics, minoring in computer applications who is president and treasurer of La Familia Latina
  • Sherron Brown, a founding member of Finger Lakes PULSE, an organization advocating for and serving the LGBTQ+ community
  • Katrina Hodge, Residence Life and Housing liaison for the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office and residence hall director for Dragon Hall
  • Mame Ndiaye, residence hall director, DeGroat Hall
  • Chéri Phillips, assistant professor in the Economics Department
  • Shaneya Simmelkjaer, a senior triple major in criminology, political science and Africana studies who is president of the Black Student Union
  • Jasmiri Valerio, a senior Africana studies major with a minor in political science who is vice president of NAACP
  • Sophia Zheng, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) undergraduate fellow

The discussion during this panel will acknowledge how the women’s suffrage movement did not always include women of color.

Shaneya Simmelkjaer plans to discuss her experience as a Black feminist and the misconceptions about Black feminism.

Topics for Black Lives and Liberation Forums may be based on current events or other important issues. A previous Black Lives & Liberation forum, which was held near the time of the 2020 U.S. presidential elections, discussed the active disenfranchisement and suppression of black voters.

These forums draw attendees who want to educate themselves on issues facing Black people. Students and faculty who have attended previous forums have been eager to participate in more diversity initiatives.

“When they [students] came, they even reported back a sense of ‘I want to get more involved,’” said Simmelkjaer. “It's been very beneficial for them because they feel like they have a space for cultural and intellectual development.”

As president of the Black Student Union, Simmelkjaer has been advocating for SUNY Cortland faculty and staff to take expanded diversity training. Because this forum is a safe space for students of color to share their experiences with racism and microaggressions on campus and in the Cortland community, faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend.

“You can't say you care about the 20 something percent of students of color that go to this school if you don't take the time to critique your pedagogical approaches,” said Simmelkjaer.

One of the many things that attendees can learn from this forum is how to support women of color. Simmelkjaer has offered some suggestions.

“There's so many ways we can support and uplift woman of color. One is to address the ways in which we are oppressed and the second one is changing the narrative around black women.”

This forum is one of many events SUNY Cortland is holding during Women’s History Month. A full schedule is available online.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Chelsea Grate