The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Brighter Future Summit empowers women of color with special programming

RaQuishia Harrington, a cofounder of Sankofa Research Outreach, participates in a round table discussion about political issues during the Brighter Future Focused Summit on Saturday, March 31, 2018. (Matthew Finley/The Daily Iowan)

In order to provide women of color with greater resources and valuable connections to enhance their opportunities, the Sankofa Outreach Connection working to ensure wellness and sustainability.

On March 30 and 31, the group held a “Brighter Future Focused Summit” featuring conversations and connection opportunities for women of color and the general public. The two-day event allowed for open conversations on diversity in Johnson County and around the nation, as well as a chance for women of color to feel supported and entrusted with resources and new connections.

“It is incredible to be in a space focused on community building, research, and empowerment centered on women and girls of color,” UI graduate student Michelle Heinz said.

The March 30 events provided women of color with relaxing activates and important connections. Attendees were able to participate in seminars including yoga, massages, makeup tutorials, and natural hair sessions, which allowed for a night of serenity and relaxation.

On March 31, the general public discussed how the community supports women of color, possibilities to equalize minority populations, and how to better support diverse communities.

“Events like this are important for college communities, because college students will enter the workforce after graduation and having a better understanding of the needs and potential of all populations will improve professional practice,” Heinz said. “Additionally, college communities develop new professionals, and being aware of how they can better recruit, support, and retain students of color is a necessity.”

Sankofa is an organization made up of women of color with the aim to sustain individuals in the Johnson County community. Formed in 2015 and declared a nonprofit in 2016, the group seeks to increase wellness of women in color, to decrease social isolation, and to provide individuals with important resources like recreation centers and other low-cost amenities.

“Intersectionality has become a buzzword in millennial culture,” attendee Eliza David said. “True intersectional relationships begin when you hear the stories and struggles of those who don’t look like you. UI students can benefit from that interaction — it’s more than necessary.”

In the future, Sankofa hopes to continue eliminating disparities in the community, particularly concerning health and education, as stated on the organization’s website. The organization currently hosts a variety of programs and events in order to maintain dialogue throughout Iowa.

The Brighter Future Summit opened up many meaningful conversations throughout the event, and the speakers involved made it clear that Johnson County is far from reaching the conditions desired to ensure equality.

“We are stronger together, we all need each other, and there is real work to be done in the community,” Sankofa President LaTasha DeLoach said. “We cannot sit on the sidelines and continue to lose another generation full of potential because we didn’t try to be innovative about how we sought change.”




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