EDI Cares Student of Color Empowerment Summit
March 15, 2021
On Feb. 25 and 26 students took time out of their evenings to enjoy a moment of positive thinking and self-improvement with Pierce College’s EDI Cares community. TheEquity, Diversity, and Inclusion College Access, Retention, and Engagement Services seeks to empower students to achieve their academic, professional, and life goals, according to their official page on the Pierce College site.
This mission is profoundly evident when attending their Students of Color Empowerment Summit, which provided holistic support and self-improvement methodology that is incredibly valued in our trying times.
The event was primarily hosted by the associate director of EDI Cares, Ciera Graham, and had a mission statement of discovering the power of you. EDI Cares seeks to build a structure that sees and hears students and how when nobody else is around for support, you will always have yourself. This is often not available to students of color at primarily white institutions.
For many students of color at Pierce College, the past 12 months have represented a period of bitter social unrest and political turmoil, which could be further compounded by the stress of starting a new school or re-adjusting to life on a digital platform.
With a wide array of activities, from lessons on criminal justice to talent shows that demonstrate the multi-faceted creativity of the black diaspora, the empowerment summit’s strongest power is that it managed to balance moments of light-heartedness and fun with earnest stories of loss and the power of fighting on.
The event opened with an icebreaker from Pierce College’s community engagement specialist, Kiana Fuega. Each participating audience member was asked to name their real-life superpowers, before transitioning into words from EDI Cares Vice President, Charlie Parker. This was to demonstrate how we are people with multiple purposes on this Earth, and that our superpowers are not solely individual, but developed through lived experience.
The other primary focus of the event was wellness and the things that we do to preserve our purpose and have conversations with ourselves. They developed the idea of Habits of Excellence , which refers to the actions that you take in your life that improve your physical and mental well-being.
The event coordinators used a mixture of fun and lighthearted activities, such as giving yourself a theme song or taking selfies to appreciate your image, with earnest expressions and stories of mental health struggles and rejuvenation. The result is a presentation event that is incredibly accessible to students at Pierce and representative of a minority group that is deserving of a safe space and community at Pierce College.
By the end of the event, students were left feeling more powerful and capable of taking on the world than they had before. The 31st Annual Students of Color Conference — “Hear Our Voices: Resilience Powered Change” will take place Thursday April 15 from 11am-3pm and April 16 from 10am- 6pm. More information can be found on their FaceBook, linked here.