On Saturday, March 26th, the Gender Equity Matters (GEM) Club, led by Faculty Advisor and Champion Aly Sims, hosted the 2nd annual GEM Summit -- a full range of workshops and over fifteen speakers from varying backgrounds and careers. The theme of this year’s summit was “Our Different Paths” and focused on intersectionality.
Workshop sessions ranged from lessons on digital activism to exploring LQBTQ+ identities to understanding the difference between dating violence and healthy relationships. Speakers included Dr. Patti O’Brien-Richardson, Dr. Danielle Wright, Dr. Rashida Govan, Caroline Wilkinson ’16, and more.
Chelsea C. ’23 notes that she appreciated the open and honest conversations that were had throughout the summit: “I really enjoyed my experience at the summit. My favorite session was the one titled “Empowering Black Girls and Women”. It was really nice to hear from such influential women and be able to relate to a lot of the experiences they endured.”
Saraya Hamidi ’16 kicked off the summit by leading a session titled “Make Change: Lessons in Making Movements from a Digital Activist” where she shared with students the ultimate tool kit for digital activism.
While reflecting on her own journey to becoming one of Change.org’s Top 10 Changemakers of 2020, Ms. Hamidi explained to students that they don’t have to be an influencer to have an influence.
She left participants with a few principles to follow when becoming a digital activist:
“Find the human-ness in the story that viewers will resonate with, seek mentorship and always defer to the experts on the topic, make taking action easy for your followers, and most importantly, always share the wins.”
Ms. Nandini Menon, founder of Cedar Hill Preparatory School, hosted the workshop “Communication Within Multicultural Communities” where she shared with students the nuances and challenges that exist in cross-cultural communication. Ms. Menon examined what constitutes cultural identity, verbal and non-verbal artifacts across different cultures, and communication approaches that cultures have.
Ms. Menon ended her workshop by sharing with students just how important it is to recognize different communication styles across all cultures: “Our country is exploding with new cultures, which makes the topics we talked about today all the more relevant. In order to be competent in today’s world, we need to be people who can easily navigate across many different cultures and communities; we need to be empathetic towards others and respectfully curious.”
Other workshops hosted by the GEM summit included: “Gender, Sex, and Sexuality: Embracing Their Intersections and Distinctions in Ourselves and Each Other”, “The Many Facets of Feminism”, “Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color”, and a session for parents titled “Parenting in a #MeToo World”. The summit ended with a student panel discussion where members of GEM’s executive board shared their thoughts and reflections on the summit.