by Stephanie Villafuerte
New to CI this semester is the Empowered Womxn of Color Club, which focuses and centers on creating a safe space on campus for womxn of color through the discussion of their individual experiences and role in society.
The idea for the club began in the spring semester of 2019, when second-year pre-nursing student, Angel Chika, attended a retreat for women of color with a fellow student, Emily Quinonez, a second-year anthropology major. The two spent the entire night talking about their experiences in the world as they fit into this same group, leading to a connection and heart-felt realization that it all needed to be discussed more, especially in the college atmosphere.
When the person holding the retreat suggested that they start a club on campus to bring light to this subject, Chika and Quinonez did not hold back. They were able to add two more women to join their cause, Riya Padhye, a second-year environmental science major and Andrea Murillo, a second-year heath science major. To make sure the club started off on the right foot, Padhye, who is also the president of the club, followed the “backbone” of previous women of color clubs at CI that fell through within their first year. While they looked at the past, they created their own purpose and mission which she states is to “create conversation and community where women of color can share their stories”.
Murillo explains that the club and their officers do not want to be gender specific or non-inclusive, hence the ‘x’ in Womxn of Color Club. She further expands by saying, “This is a sisterhood and we all had similar, if not the same, experiences as woman of color.”
Much to the club’s delight, the feedback had exceeded expectations! When tabling at the Clubs and Organizations Fair at CI in late August of this semester, the Womxn of Color Club got over 200 sign-ups. “The energy we got was exciting, all the people who approached us said it was needed on campus,” Quinonez said. It was certainly a good turnout for the new club, and many were interested, even those who were just supporters of women of color.
In regard to their events and meetings, the Womxn of Color Club have a lot in store. They plan to discuss current events such as the 2020 presidential election and what role they, as a group, play there. They also plan to talk about influential women of color in the public eye and how they are affected in current policies involving abortion, teen pregnancy and the LGBTQ+ community. They want to further teach women of color about self-love and self-care, something that the officers don’t want there to be any lack of. Club activities additionally include public speaking, guest speakers at meetings, women empowerment organizations/expos in Ventura County, debates, discussions and collaborations with other clubs that also surround the idea of embracing being a person of color.
The club meets every other Thursday from 6-7 p.m. in Bell Tower, Room 2515. If you are interested in more information about the organization, the officers recommend reaching out to them on their Instagram @ewoc_csuci. Excited about the journey this club is embarking on, the officers clearly know there is much good to come out of this new organization, both for CI and for the community at large. Quinonez reaffirmed their main goal best, saying, “Speak your mind. This is your space. Don’t be afraid to touch on experiences, which are different from those who are not of color. We are here to cater to you.”