More than 250 students attend Girls of Color Summit at GVSU
Over 250 middle and high schoolers gathered the morning of March 3
for the fifth annual Girls of Color Summit in Kirkhof Center.
Some of them traveled from as far as Detroit, including Taniya
Perkins, who woke up at 5 a.m. to make it to her school bus on time.
She and La’Shae Horne are high school students at University
Preparatory Academy in Detroit and were attending the summit for the
The program, hosted by the Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE)
was broken up into multiple breakout sessions throughout the day, with
one track of three sessions for middle school, and one for high
school. After the first session, the entire group gathered together
for lunch, where students were asked about what they had learned so far.
University Preparatory Academy students, Taniya Perkins, left, and La'Shae Horne, right, laugh together during the Girls of Color Summit held in the Kirkhof Center March 3.
GVSU's Shonta' Miller, right, hugs Mary Partee, with Burton Middle School, during the Girls of Color Summit held in the Kirkhof Center March 3.
Ki'Mylah Mayfield, right, raises her hand to answer a question at a breakout session during the Girls of Color Summit held in the Kirkhof Center March 3.
Horne, along with many others, touched on intersectionality, saying
that it was nice meeting “a lot of black people and brown people to
talk about the experiences that we share.”
Nya Neal, an 8th grader from City High Middle School in Grand Rapids,
had just come from a session focusing on self-love. She said that she
liked getting to hear from all the different types of people, and to
learn about their versions of self-love.
The central theme of this year’s summit was Standing in Your Truth.
Keynote speaker, Tashuna Hunt, adjunct professor at GVSU and a
licensed social worker, focused on this as she spoke, sharing her own story.
“For so long I’d never seen professors or teachers that looked like
me,” Hunt said. “I attended Grand Valley for my graduate degree, and
for the first time, I had several professors that actually looked like me.”
That, Hunt said, was what inspired her to teach. “She did that!” she
called for the room to repeat in a rousing chorus. “And I can do that too.”
Tashuna Hunt was the keynote speaker during the Girls of Color Summit
held in the Kirkhof Center March 3.
Many of the facilitators for this event were community activists,
graduate school organizations, and members of the BIPOC community,
according to Lariesha Lee, assistant director of the CWGE.
One of the goals for this summit was to provide opportunities to
learn about activism, allyship, and leadership. There was also a focus
on solidarity, said Lee, amongst BIPOC and their allies, returning to
that theme of intersectionality. Coming together, “not only in times
of despair, but times like this of celebration as well. It’s very important.”
Students pass an object signifying it was their turn to share their thoughts during a breakout session during the Girls of Color Summit held in the Kirkhof Center March 3.
Bindi-Faye Mittendorf smiles among a group of students at the Girls of Color Summit held in the Kirkhof Center March 3.
Gerald R. Ford Academic Center students Layla Killingham, left, and Kiley Edwards, right, pose for a photo during the Girls of Color Summit held in the Kirkhof Center March 3.
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