I identify as a woman of color. Within feminist discourse, women of color tend to be left out which then leaves us no space talk about our experiences and feel validated. Being a woman of color comes with a very different perspective than the majority and makes it hard to feel welcomed or valued in spaces that are not catered to women of color. During my time at Whitman, it came to my attention that women of color on campus do not really have a space to claim as their own and to engage in feminist discourse that is inclusive to the experiences of women of color. A great friend of mine and I decided to start a club on campus called: Women of Color Voices. Our club mission is two-fold. The first goal is to create an inclusive, safe, intersectional environment for women of color to feel validated and be able to have a sense of community at Whitman. The other part to our mission is advocacy and awareness. This might include bringing women of color activists and feminists to come speak on campus and educate our campus on what it is like to be a woman of color, and why intersectional spaces are important. Our club has kicked off to a great start! Through cooking with each other, doing face masks, watching films, or just getting together and ranting, we hope that women of color at Whitman feel that they have the support they need in order to thrive.
At first, I hesitated to follow through with starting this club because I feared that it would be difficult to start the club as well as fueling member participation, but those fears soon vanished. After participating in the activities fair, we had over 60 people signed up for our listserv! And today we have a total of 80 members! Throughout the semester so far, several people have come up to me and thanked me for starting this club and expressed how important this club is for our campus. Not only was I relieved, but I realized that I was not the only person that felt a lack of community for women of color! I also realized that Whitman as an institution cannot do everything for students, so sometimes we have to step-up and create those spaces for each other because we are all a part of the Whitman community. I am so grateful of how much support our club has from students, faculty, staff, and even those not affiliated with the college! I feel so supported and excited to see the beautiful things that will come out of this club.