“Women of Color: Embrace Your Beauty”

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On February 17, the event “Women of Color: Embrace Your Beauty” brought all races together, but most importantly brought people of color together.

D’nysha Cook and Kristin Walker hosted the event to bring women of all races together to embrace their beauty. Both students felt there were no events at NEC that showed appreciation for the struggles women go through daily, especially women of color. Since NEC is a place open to new ideas, clubs, and events, Cook took the initial step to make a change she felt needed to happen on campus.

When guests began to arrive, they were greeted with positive vibes: bright pink t-shirts, beauty bags, cupcakes, and strawberry mousse brownies. Breana Ramirez, a graduate student at New England College, stated, “When I first walked in I felt welcomed and in awe to see so many women of color come out for this event.”

Ramirez has attended NEC for five years, going on six, and further stated, “I’ve never seen so many in one room,” in regards to women of color coming together in a single room that wasn’t a party.

A film, directed by Kristin Walker with interviews by D’Nysha Cook, was shown mid-way through the event featuring Jasmin, Kristin, Angela, Chantel, Jhane, and Ariyana. They had a central theme, with questions like: “What makes you beautiful?”; “What do you tell yourself when feeling ugly?”; and “What do you do when you feel insecure?”

The whole room came together to listen to what these women had to say and the similar situations they dealt with growing up. This event brought these women together to enjoy, laugh, and smile when they would normally just pass each other walking to class.

Several testimonies were made by women who spoke about their struggles, ranging from growing up in a white community, to a diverse community, to those who were dark skinned and felt inferior to light skinned women.

Cook, a sophomore at New England College, stated, “Now that I’m looking around campus I’m seeing women of color acknowledge each other more than they did before this event.”

While there are annual events that bring the NEC community together, live River Day and Quadstock,  “Women of Color: Embrace Your Beauty” is unique in that it focused on a specific group and made women feel included in the community.

Cook said, “I want this event to be a tradition since this was the first event that brought women of color together.”

Although there are many empowering events on campus for people of color, this was a special event for women to feel completely comfortable. Many times, events are put on without thought of people’s comfort zones. But this event wasn’t like that: women of color knew they would be surrounded by other women of color.

Jasmin Lino, a junior, stated, “There was a point where we were all dancing and laughing and at that point I believe that all the drama that we may have had was set aside because there is a bigger picture.”

After Cook initially realized there were no events on campus that allowed women of color to feel comfortable in their own skin among their peers, she worked with Walker to bring women together to embrace their natural beauty.

“My event is a platform for women of color to feel free enough to share their testimonies without feeling judged or humiliated,” Cook stated.

Cook anticipates that “Women of Color: Embrace Your Beauty” will be the start of a new tradition and expects to have an even larger success with the event next year. As NEC’s diversity rate grows, the hope is that women will continue to come together as one, to empower each other.

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