Community, Features

BU Women of Color Circle inspires community with International Women’s Day Celebration

In 1956, the women of Boston University gathered at the BU Castle, resulting in the BU Women’s Guild. 68 years later, the Guild is still bringing the women of BU and of Boston together.

The Women of Color Circle of the BU Women’s Guild held a celebration for International Women’s Day, which was March 8, in the Howard Thurman Center on March 28. Open to all faculty and staff, the event brought together performers and vendors to celebrate women’s contributions to advancing the arts.

Members of the Triveni School of Dance perform an Indian dance at the International Women’s Day celebration hosted by the Boston University Women’s Guild, Women of Color Circle on March 28. This event brought together performers and vendors to celebrate women’s contributions to the arts. SARAH CRUZ/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Since the WOCC was founded within the Women’s Guild in 2019, its mission has been to encourage community among women of color at BU and beyond, according to the organization’s website.

Thursday’s celebration concluded with Women’s History Month by building on themes of overcoming adversity and breaking down barriers, according to an email from Zephyre “Tess” Carrington, the co-chair of the WOCC.

“The event is important to WOCC because it is our call to action to support our community and be a collaborative platform to advance women’s equality by celebrating and increasing the visibility of women’s achievements,” Carrington wrote in the email.

Through performance or product, participants had the chance to support the work of fellow women. The WOCC invited three women-owned small businesses to its International Women’s Day celebration, with booths from Sankofa Anacaona Botanicals, Sueños Heirloom Chocolate and Afri-root Collective.

Charlene Zuill, the director of spiritual life at BU’s School of Theology, said she appreciated how the event focused on supporting local women through the vendors.

Emily Hamer, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she enjoyed the vendors that lined the walls of the Howard Thurman Center with their wares.

“I love supporting small businesses, especially woman-owned, and a lot of these are really cool,” Hamer said.

Taina Vargas-Sosa, the owner of Sankofa Anacaona Botanicals, a plant-based holistic wellness business, said she was glad the celebration created a space to observe women’s accomplishments.

“I was excited to hear that BU was organizing an event that celebrates and makes space for the achievement of women to be recognized,” Vargas said. “Hopefully other schools are doing the same.”

Members of the Nüwa Athletic Club perform the lion dance at the International Women’s Day celebration. SARAH CRUZ/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Lori Shapiro, the founder and owner of Sueños Heirloom Chocolate, said that the event can pave a path for expansion for future events.

“Hopefully it will be something that the Women’s Guild will be able to build on and it will support … the development of their own organization and future events,” Shapiro said.

With audience members singing along, the night featured performances from Echo Bridge Cello, Genie Santiago, Sisilia Marpaung, Nüwa Athletic Club, Triveni School of Dance and Tierra del Sol.

Neema Gulati, founder and director of Triveni School of Dance, said it was especially beneficial that the event celebrated women globally, especially because BU has a large population of international students.

“It is a wonderful experience for us to share our beautiful culture with different organizations,” Gulati said.

In addition to supporting vendors and celebrating women, Zuill said the event allowed her to meet women from other disciplines she otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet.

“It’s really great to interact with women from other departments,” she said. “In my work, I very rarely get out of our building.”

Vargas said the main reason the event was important was because it highlighted women’s value to their communities.

“I believe in the strength of women and I believe that empowered women power our communities, but also we’re changemakers,” Vargas said. “When we have women who are powerful, it does not only benefit that woman, it benefits the community as a whole.”

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