Laughter, food, music and the love of sisterhood were all present Friday in the Grand Ballroom during the “Her Story is Our Story Luncheon”. A collaborative effort between the Office of Communications and First Lady Sharon Robinson.
The event honored the contributions made by women across campus. In the spirit of Women’s History Month, guests were asked to wear hats that honored the women who impacted their lives and FAMU’s success.
Among the faculty, staff, students and supporters that attended was Freshman Broadcast Journalism student Sierra “CiCi” Sirju. Like most of the attendees who were women, Sirju enjoyed being able to fellowship with women that inspire and motivate her.
“Just being surrounded by so many phenomenal women with so many phenomenal ideas and just being with each other in one room, that’s just a blessing,” Sirju said. “Especially being at FAMU. I’m actually honored to be here because most of my role models are here.”
Greeted and escorted to their seats by the men of the 2016-2017 Royal Court, guests were encouraged to mingle and take pictures. Setting the tone of the event, Dean Valencia Matthews opened the event with an excerpt of Pearl Cleage’s “In the Time Before the Men Came”. Keeping up with the theme of the luncheon, anecdotes of empowerment, unity and individuality were given by each speaker.
Along with the music of Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin, guests were moved by an intimate performance of “Pie Jesu” by fourth year vocal performance students Maiya Stevenson and Aleisha Mandella. Both Stevenson and Mandella were personally chosen by First Lady Robinson to sing at the luncheon after hearing them at a concert during the fall semester. Stevenson felt that women deserve all of the recognition they receive.
“Without women, none of us would be here. We birthed all of this. People have to come through [women] in order to be here,” Stevenson said. “So that’s more than enough of a reason to celebrate women.”
After lunch was served, keynote speaker First Lady Robinson told an intimate story about her relationship with her grandmother. Though she didn’t realize it as a child, the hard work and habits that her grandmother displayed, planted a seed of education and independence that Robinson credits as shaping her into the woman that she is today. Robinson hoped that all of the attendees of the luncheon felt that the impact their time and dedication made to FAMU was appreciated.
“To me it’s more of an event to show appreciation for the hard work, service and dedication of the women that work at FAMU. They give so much of themselves and a lot of times they’re not in the spotlight,” Robinson said. “But, I wanted them to know that what they do is of value, it’s important and they’re giving the best of themselves to the students who go out and give the best of themselves to the world. And that’s worthy of acknowledgement.”