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Regina Barnett
Women of Color Leadership Conference

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Inaugural Women of Color Leadership Conference at IU this Friday, Saturday

April 1, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - In response to a successful series of conferences organized by male students of color at Indiana University, their female counterparts believed it was time for a similar initiative to call their own.

Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

The conference will take place at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

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The first Women of Color Leadership Conference will take place at IU Bloomington this Friday and Saturday (April 4-5), with the theme, "Empowering Women One Day at a Time."

The student-founded conference is committed to uniting African American, Latino, Asian and Native American women in Indiana and elsewhere by providing them with a platform and venue for effective dialogue about their issues.

"It's pretty much the same format as the Men of Color Leadership Conference, but with a woman's twist," said Regina N. Barnett, a graduate student in IU's Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and an adviser to the conference.

Topics being covered include academic and career goal-setting for women of color, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease among minority women, issues in developing sex education curricula and self image. Presenters will include scholars from IU's schools of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and Education; Eastern Illinois and Indiana State universities; and the University of Illinois.

"It's important to show that there is a need for networking, especially on a collegiate level, and to be given this opportunity and space for this to happen will really benefit those who felt there were no networking opportunities, but also to strengthen those networks that might already be in place," Barnett said.

"The high school portion is especially important, because these are our young women of color who are just entering or thinking about entering the collegiate process or the professional world. We're giving them some tools and advise to help them along," she added. "We're trying to establish a network, not only at Indiana University, but across the Midwest, a network that all women of color could use for empowerment and bonding."

In addition to students from IU Bloomington, participants will represent IU Northwest, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the universities also sending presenters. The Monroe County Community School Corp. will send students to participate as well. More than 110 people have registered thus far.

Audrey McCluskey

Audrey McCluskey

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The conference will begin at 9 a.m. Friday at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Avenue. High school students will benefit from three workshops focusing on preparing for and entering college, perceptions of women in popular culture and empowerment.

The following morning, sessions oriented toward current college students will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a keynote address by Audrey McCluskey, interim director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, followed by three workshop sessions and a lunch speech by Valerie Grim, chair of the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies.

The Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development is sponsoring the conference. Other conference supporters include the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, MCCSC, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, the city of Bloomington, IU Department of Athletics, IU Student Association and Residential Programs and Services.

The conference will accept registrations through Saturday. The fee to attend the conference is $45 for university and community professionals, $25 for college students and $10 for IU Bloomington students. There will be no cost for MCCSC students, but they register through their school. Those interested students should contact the Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development at 812-855-8850. The fee includes all conference materials and meals. There will be onsite registration.