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Women's Herstory Month Opens With a Conference, March 2

February 22, 2017

Women’s Herstory Month kicked off at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) with a conference, “Women Leading & Women Rising,” on Thursday, March 2 in Richard Harris Terrace and other locations throughout BMCC’s main campus at 199 Chambers Street.

For locations, times and other details on the March 2 conference program, click HERE.

For details on Women's Herstory Month events that continue through the month of March, click HERE.

“Each speaker and panelist at the opening conference and throughout the month, will focus on what they do, why they do it and why it matters as we create a deeper examination of our individual responsibility in the face of political change,” said Debra Parker, Conference Chair and Director of the BMCC Women’s Resource Center.

President Antonio Pérez gave opening remarks at the "Women Leading & Women Rising" conference. "This event is significant because of its impact on our students, 60 percent of whom are women," he said. "At BMCC, we are a family of equals, but the fight for equality is continuous."

Margaret Barrow, a professor in the BMCC English Department and a conference co-coordinator along with Professors Patricia Mathews-Salazar and Amy Sodaro, also spoke. "Women are changing the world in every industry," she said. "We will not allow anyone to turn the clock back." She then read the iconic Maya Angelou poem, "Still I Rise." 

Natasha Del Villar, President of the BMCC Sisterhood Society Club spoke, noting that it is essential for women to get involved in leadership roles, "not just for themselves, but for society as a whole."

The Keynote Speaker at the "Women Leading & Women Rising" conference was Sandra Wilkin, founder and CEO of Bradford Construction, a leading woman-owned business enterprise. In 2016, she was appointed to the CUNY Board of Trustees, where serves as Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Facilities Planning and Management.

"Women Leading & Women Rising" conference panels 

Panel I, "Leading the Way." Moderator: Andrea Shapiro Davis, Associate Vice Chancellor, CUNY. Panelists: Grace Bonilla, President and CEO, The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc.; Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, CUNY Board of Trustee and Senior Vice President, Emblem Health; Shari Hyman, President and COO, Battery Park Authority and Meera Joshi, Commissioner, Taxi and Limousine Commission. 

Panel II, "Speaking Out and Standing Up." Moderator: Patricia Mathews-Salazar, Professor and Director, Center for Ethnic Studies, BMCC. Panelists: Maryam Habibian, Filmmaker and Adjunct Faculty, English Department, BMCC; Kisha Vaughan, Program Specialist, Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, CUNY; Jeenie Yoon, Senior Campus Sexual Assault Coordinator and NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

Panel III, "Working with Words." Modetrator: Elaine Sexton, Poet, Publisher, and Adjunct Faculty, English Department, BMCC. Panelists: Lee Briccetti, Poet and Executive Director, Poet’s House; Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Poet, Artist, Faculty, Sarah Lawrence College and Michelle Yasmine Valladares, Poet, Filmmaker and Director of MFA Creative Writing program at the City College of New York.

Panel IV, "Students Advocating." Moderator: Margaret Barrow, Associate Professor and Deputy Chair, English Department, BMCC. Panelists will include Chika Onyejiukwa, Chairperson, CUNY University Student Senate and CUNY Board of Trustees, and BMCC students Juliet DePaula, Candice Ricks and Melina Salifoski.

Panel V, "Biases Against Women in NYC Politics." Moderator: Heather James, Faculty, Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice Department, BMCC. Panelists: Cristina Gonzalez, Deputy Portfolio Manager, Mayor’s Office of Appointments; Athena Moore, Former New York City Council Candidate and Carlina Rivera, Current New York City Council Candidate.

Other "Women Leading & Women Rising" conference speakers and events

The day's events will also feature "Meet the Artist: Lizzette Bonfante Gonzalez, Artist and BMCC Alumna" and a Student Concert with Nkira Barrow and Alfredo Scotti.

Conference Staff includes Victoria Conover, Varsha Jagjit, Marion Lopez, Janice Ortiz-Gonzalez and Kamilah Bass.

Women's Herstory Month will provide readings, panels and performances — on subjects ranging from human trafficking to women characters in graphic novels — throughout the month of March. For more information, click HERE.

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