S.U.R.G.E. (Students United for Real Gender Equality attended Spellman College in Atlanta, Ga, for the Third Annual Women of Color Conference on Oct. 9 and 10. The confrerence focused on all aspects of feminism, how society acts towards women’s issues and what students today can do to educate others on these issues on their campuses.
S.U.R.G.E, started in 2008 at VSU and is dedicated to educating students and the community about the issues that surround women, men, gender and sexuality. S.U.R.G.E. also focuses on creating opportunities for people in the VSU community to become active participants in addressing and dealing with issues surrounding women, gender, and sexuality.
The founder of S.U.R.G.E is Nakita Dziegielewski, a senior sociology major and women’s and gender studies minor .
“ Some of the things that we do as an organization are: table, disseminating literature surrounding issues of women, gender, and sexuality, invite guest speakers, develop panel discussions, and develop community events and fundraising events.” said Dziegielewski.
The group decided to go to learn more about what they can do to promote women’s issues here at VSU. The conference opened with a roundtable discussion about the future of feminism. Some key speakers were Tania Stewart, National on Campus Organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation, Dr. M. Bahati Kuumba, the Associate Director of Women’s Research and Resource at Spellman and Sade Adeeyo, the Co-president at Spellman’s Feminist Majority Leadership Conference. The speakers all agreed that the meaning of feminism has been corrupted by the media and should be more accessible, not just for women.
After the discussion, the different groups listened to slam poetry by national organization Sister Song and other colleges from all over the country. Towards the end of the day, a documentary was shown by some of the students on the Spellman campus about the battle with homophobia and awareness of gays and lesbians at the Spellman and Morehouse campuses.
On day two of the conference, different sessions were taught about healthcare, human trafficking, alternative media and how it became better with activists working with non-profit organizations.
“I thought the conference was a great learning experience for those who are not familiar with the feminist movement as well as those who are,” Maya Ortiz,a S.U.R.G.E member and freshman biology and Spanish major said.
“ It was a true honor to be surrounded by so many intelligent, amazing, energizing women. What I learned will be taken with me forever and I can’t thank them enough for their inspiration,” Dziegielewski said.