Senior project inspires women’s empowerment

Michaela Bulkley
Staff Writer

Breast cancer awareness, women empowerment and slam poetry were mixed into one event as Cendy Linares, senior communications major, teamed up with Shades of Essence for Café Power Night in the Campus Center Ballroom Tuesday.

The event started with approximately 10 people there, mingling with vendors, eating and viewing informational pamphlets at the pink tables in the Campus Center Ballroom.

The event started with Linares welcoming the group and explaining how such broad ideas came together as the event was her senior project.

“I decided to incorporate it with women empowerment and breast cancer because I’m a breast cancer survivor myself and I wanted to make a difference but I also wanted to make it interesting,” Linares said.

The first performance was a duet slam poem by sophomore biology major Miranda Chaves and senior biology major Anais Reveles called “Feminism” that they also performed at College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The poem focused on body issues and the objectification of women with a fuse of science metaphors.

“I know it is a struggle to be a minority, to be Latina, to be a woman, to be a poet, to be a scientist,” Reveles said. “So it’s kind of cool to see an event that empowers women… and women in general. It’s nice to have something like that and to feel like we aren’t the only ones; it’s motivating.”

The second performer was Bradlee Johnson singing a song by India Arie. The song focused on how men should treat women and respect all women as much as they respect their mother or grandmother.

Dr. Jessica Clague DeHart, an assistant research professor in cancer etiology at the City of Hope talked about breast cancer and women empowerment.

“I’m a blonde hair, blue-eyed Hispanic woman trying to survive in science,” DeHart said. “How did I do it? I did it because I had women empowering me at every single stage of them game. Groups like this were telling me I could do it.”

She educated the audience on statistics about breast cancer and how to prevent it, such as exercise. She said that exercising for 30 minutes a day can help decrease the risk for cancer and men and women are both able to get breast cancer. While there are millions of cancer survivors in the United States, there is still a one in eight chance that a woman will get breast cancer in her lifetime.

“My job is to prevent cancer from happening in the first place,” DeHart said. “I’ve dedicated my life to preventing women’s cancers from happening.”

Performers such as a ULV alumnus Mathieu Koontz performed a slam poem about the beauty of black women and the stigma against dating black women. His piece focused on respecting women like mothers and female relatives, similar to the song sang by Johnson.

Young Sparks, a two-person alternative band, sang three songs with one member playing the guitar while the other sang.

The event ended with Lasia Lynnai performing two slam poems about body image and women finding inner power.

“It was empowering too see all the women here unite,” said Lorraine Rosas, junior social behavior science major at Citrus College.

Vendors included 19sixtyfive, which promotes cultural awareness of Latin Americans, Creations by Natty, which sells Mickey ears, headbands, flower pins and a booth selling cupcakes and bracelets to raise money for cancer treatment. The vendors donated part of the proceeds to City of Hope.

“We never lose that sense of empowerment within ourselves to keep going,” Linares said. “I think instead of telling someone ‘I’m so sorry for what you’re going through,’ you can tell them ‘You can get through it, you’re a woman and you’re strong.’”

Michaela Bulkley can be reached at

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