FAMU hosts the second annual women’s empowerment summit

Participates join in for African Dancing  
Kayla Carter | The Famuan

All ages of women of color came out to Florida A&M University to celebrate the second annual, Women of Color in Education and Extension Empowerment Summit. The event was held on Sept. 29 at the Al Lawson Center.

The event titled, “Dora Milaje: Empowering the Wakandan Woman Within Us”, was created to teach and educate women about mentoring and women empowerment. Jenelle N. Robinson, Ph.D., created the event to celebrate the contributions of women,

“The goal of this event is to highlight women of color, especially the women of color here at Florida A&M while educating young women,” Robinson said.

The theme of the event was based on the women of the fictional country, Wakanda, from the movie “Black Panther.” Since Wakanda is based on real nations in Africa, every part of the event had an African twist. The event had plenty in store from African vendors that sold African cultural accessories, natural herbs such as scents and plants, and African dances and food.

The event welcomed students, faculty and the community. One of the main purposes of this year’s event was to bring more awareness about becoming a mentor or the search to find a mentor.

A handful of women opened their arms to become a mentor to young girls or women that need guidance or just someone they can relate to while away from home. Two ladies gained a mentor at the end of the summit, one for self-love and guidance and the other for educational purposes

Associate professor of public health, Torhonda Lee, talking about becoming and/or finding a mentor right for you   
Photo submitted by Kayla Carter.

Torhonda Lee, associate professor of public health, gave insight on mentoring and how to find the best mentor for you.

“Someone who you can relate too, and you don’t have to have one mentor, you can have mentors for everything, they can be for educational, spiritual, even for relationships, mentors are there to help you,” Lee said.

The women began to break down three types of mentoring: traditional, community and reverse.

Traditional mentoring consists of one-on-one relationships. The mentors can either be assigned or chosen or an in-school mentor.

The second type of mentoring was community mentoring. This mentoring style requires being more engaged within your community and focusing on how to help the community. Involvement is always needed to close the mentoring gap.

African head centerpieces with head scarfs made out of tissue paper  
Photo submitted by Kayla Carter.

Reverse mentoring is inverting the hierarchy and allowing millennials to act as mentors on topics such as technology, social media, and current trends. This mentoring style increases millennial works retention and fosters inclusiveness.

Cikylie Brooks, volunteer and community psychology graduate, hopes to have more events like this in the future.

“We definitely need more events like this in the community. Having women of color talk about their struggles and turning their struggles into testimonies, because African American women in this country have been through, and is still going through so much, that’s why mentors come in handy,” Brooks said. “Having someone to relate to the same struggles you face in your life can be sort of a reliever in a way.”

Robinson said she will consider hosting the event in more areas of Florida and in other states to bring more women of color in the spotlight.