By M.A. Rahman
Published: May 15th, 2019
Newly established Women of Distinction Award Ceremony seeks to raise greater awareness of the various accomplishments of black and minority women on campus for the varying passions of work deemed to be helping the advancement of colored women in society.
Students and faculty across campus filled the Jefferson Williams Lounge of SUBO to observe and celebrate the new award event devised by the combined effort of the Brooklyn College National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA) and Women of Color Club.
“There have been many other [award ceremonies] celebrating Black Women on this campus before,” President of Women of Color Rebecca Lafond said before co-organizer and president of NBLSA Jessica Johnson added “…but this one is literally [about] appreciating one another, it’s actually about having these awards, having performances and showing ‘you’re appreciated and you matter.’”
Consciously electing to be inclusive by commemorating a range of deeds partaken by nominees from activism to entrepreneurship for over a dozen colored female students of recent as well as members of the women color club along with a few faculties, the ceremony begun with a memorial to a now deceased activist and organizer of the past: Carrie L. Roberts.
Additionally, renowned activist, organizer and CEO of Women Everywhere Believe, Inc. Chelsea Miller was invited as the ceremonies keynote speaker. Miller, a graduate of Columbia University and once worked for the Obama administration on economic opportunity, chronicled her own experiences as a black women striving to improve the fiscal and social conditions of the underprivileged.
“I was in my dorm in my Sophomore year of college with my best friend at the time and we’re just brainstorming ideas and we’re like ‘why don’t we create an organization that is able to empower girls of color?’” Miller narrated, elaborating on the origin of Women Everywhere Believe, Inc.
Upon concluding her speech Miller was presented the Women of Distinction Award for Appreciation by organizers beginning the ceremonies main concession.
In time other prominent awards such as the ‘Shirley Chisholm Award for Political Activism’ found themselves in the hands of Nadia Presley who was commended for her work as VP of the Tau Tau chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, program director of WBCR, Treasurer of the NBLSA, as well as her ongoing work as VP-elect of USG.
The praise from the occasion for remarkable accomplishments organizers found in award recipients was also shared with faculty members like Student Life Coordinator Christina Mia Vialva and Professor Robyn Spencer of the BC Women’s Center with the latter receiving the ‘Black Women Mixer Award.’
“I love it, I’ve been active in Women of Color since I got started here, it was one of the first clubs I got started in, and ever since then I’ve been trying to get my face known, I made myself always be available when whenever they [Women of Color] needed my help,” said Victoria Beraiah, a junior, Psychology major and recipient of the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award speaking appreciatively on her award.