Successful Black Women promote social unity at Peace Summit
Women of all ages, as well as a lone man, were comfortably spread out in a parlor at the Union when Ashley Robinson finally had the opportunity to tell her thoughts on the topics of peace, unity and social justice at the Successful Black Women’s first annual Peace Summit on Sunday.
Robinson, who said she thinks about these topics a lot, was one of about 20 people who attended the event, hosted by MSU’s Successful Black Women student organization,
“I think this was phenomenal,” said Robinson, a kinesiology junior and the Successful Black Women fundraising chair. “I enjoyed the chance to talk about tough, but necessary topics.”
The event was aimed at different cultures coming together to discuss promoting peace, unity and social justice on campus, according to Adrienne Kilgore, the group’s historian and programming director.
Club president Lauren Moore said the event also was aimed at giving thanks to the other cultures that supported the black community following a string of on-campus racial incidents in 2011, including a racially offensive statement being written on the door of a dorm room in West Akers Hall.
“Do I think we’ve moved on? No,” she said. “Do I think that we’re growing from it? Yes.”
While the summit had difficulties attaining its goal of a diverse crowd, several attendees said they enjoyed the opportunity to have the discussion of social unity with others.
“I thought the event was very important, given recent events on campus,” social work sophomore Rachel Tate said, referring to the past racial incidents.
Topics including on-campus racial issues and the case of Trayvon Martin were discussed amongst the crowd as they munched on baked goods and punch. The summit also included a keynote speaker and participants taking an oath to become peace ambassadors.
“The purpose of a peace ambassador (certification) is to take the experience that they take from this program and implement it in their day-to-day lives,” Kilgore said.
While in discussion many attendees said there were definite issues with social justice and unity on campus, several thought students are taking the right steps forward.
“Hopefully they’ll continue to focus on their vision and mission, and hopefully they’ll work harder to bring groups together,” said keynote speaker Patricia Lowrie, director of the MSU Women’s Resource Center.
Kilgore said she wished more people of different cultures had attended and the group will likely take action to assure this in future events. She said different cultures would have made the discussions more representative of the campus.
“It would have been more inclusive,” Kilgore said.