Women’s Summit 2021 Preview
For this year’s Women’s Summit sponsored by the Women’s Center, renowned activists Patrisse Cullors and Chanel Miller will be speaking to Boston College students attending the virtual event.
The event, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, will focus on the theme of healing from the past year’s traumas, BC senior John Gehman said.
Gehman has worked as one of the co-directors of outreach for this year’s Women’s Summit and said this year’s event will put an emphasis on healing from the pandemics of COVID-19, racial injustice, police brutality, and beyond.
“I think everyone has been deeply affected by the various pandemics that we are experiencing. So this is really a chance to heal and come together as a collective to see how we can not only be in solidarity with one another but ourselves: how to take care of ourselves, how to empower ourselves, and how to amplify each other’s, and our own, voices,” said Gehman.
To build on this theme of healing, activists Cullors and Miller were purposefully chosen by the organizers of the event to be the keynote speakers, as their activism aligns with these ideas.
As one of the three founders of the organization Black Lives Matter, Cullors has built a body of advocacy within anti-racist work. Within anti-racist movements, Cullors has focused her work on LGBTQ+ rights and prison abolition. She is the author of When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir and the artist behind a number of visual, performance, audio, and movement art pieces. She was named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and TIME Magazine’s 2020 "100 Women of the Year."
Miller’s work in activism has focused more on transforming rape culture and uplifting the stories of sexual assault survivors. As a survivor of sexual assault herself, Miller has worked as an artist and a writer to powerfully reveal her journey of healing. Her memoir Know My Name, a New York Times bestseller, uncovers the injustices of rape culture by exposing her experiences in the famous Brock Turner rape case. As an artist, she created the famous piece, I Was, I Am, I Will Be, that visually depicts her journey of unfinished healing as a survivor of sexual assault and sheds light on the complexity of healing for all survivors.
With prominent activists in the realms of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, the speakers of the Women’s Summit will help students to define their own stories within these movements, said Gehman.
“We thought it would [be] really good to have the intersection of two different facets of injustice… especially how they affect not only white women or cis women but Black women and trans women. We really wanted to encapsulate a broader view of womanhood… and how we can best support and amplify one another’s voices within that,” he explained.
Alongside speeches from the keynote speakers, there will also be eight workshops for students to choose two they will attend during the event. The available workshops are, “The Power of Self-Compassion in an Uncertain World,” “Starting a Company Straight Out of College: How to Launch a Mission-Driven Board,” “Keeping Your Passions: Thriving in the World of Tech and Beyond,” “Women’s Leadership in the COVID-19 Pandemic,” “Prepping for Post-Grad: A Lesson in Humility,” “The Map You Make Yourself: Narratives of Resilience and Breakthrough,” “Achieving Common Goals: A Lesson from an Activist in Professional Women’s Hockey,” and “How to be Your Authentic Self.”
Gehman explained that the event is open for all BC students who want to learn more about these complex societal issues and engage with them within the BC community and beyond.
“It really develops this global mindedness that we all need to have when considering how to best support and amplify the voices of those who still struggle to be heard,” he said.