By Riley Holcraft
The national theme for Women’s History Month 2018 was “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” Volunteer State Community College celebrated this theme with a women’s tea event hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion March 29.
Tables were set up in the dining hall with teacups, printed programs, and flower centerpieces; lunch was also served for all attendees. Dr. Melva Black was the Mistress of Ceremony and she welcomed all guests by stating, “You all look magnificent. It’s always good to be in the presence of women.”
To begin the event, Tiffany Zwart, coordinator of student support, read a piece by Brené Brown, “Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted.” Lori Miller, administrative assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion also read the poem “A Golden Chain” by Helen Steiner Rice. Miller stated that Rice, nicknamed “The Ambassador of Sunshine,” was her mother’s favorite writer.
Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, manager of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, introduced the two guest speakers for the event. Dr. Emily Short and Mrs. Patty Powell are two women that have worked together for 27 years. Powell is the former vice president of student services at Vol State, and Short currently holds that position. Both women shared encouraging words about one another and explained the importance of deep friendship.
Short said that Powell was the first person of color she had ever formed a relationship with. She explains that discrimination among women does nothing to fight discrimination against all women.
“Let go of petty arguments and live a judgeless life,” stated Short.
Powell expanded on her point by saying that an end to discrimination starts with learning to love and help one another along the way. Women can fight against discrimination through respect, honesty and love. They also advocated for strengthening relationships like their own to help along the journey.
Yarbrough closed the ceremony with a special thanks to Carlton Wilkinson. Wilkinson shot photographs of many women at Vol State. These photographs were displayed along the side wall, honoring the dedication of these women.