LV Life Editor
Nancy Reyes, associate dean of learning, innovation and teaching, along with faculty and students shared stories of important women in their lives who have inspired others.
Reyes, who facilitated the event, said that holding events like HERstories is important because women should be celebrated all the time.
“I think the reason we have to have these types of events is because we aren’t often celebrated the way we should be,” Reyes said. “So we take that seat at the table when we can.”
Reyes said that everyone should be a feminist because it is important to celebrate women’s contributions.
She played a video of the 2014 Brave New Voices finals, in which a team shared a poem on feminism with the message of everyone, regardless of their background, should be invited to the table of feminism.
Many women shared stories about men in their families that told the women what they could or could not do.
Natalie Marquez-Solorzano, senior biology major, stood up and shared a poem about those who have inspired her throughout her life. In her poem she referenced her friends, grandmothers and mother.
“They’re all women who I realize the reason that I idolize them is because they don’t fit the tradition box of cute, clean and pretty women,” Marquez-Solorzano said. “They’re go-getters, and they don’t fit the roles that were assigned to them.”
Before Reyes began her speech, she asked the 30 people in attendance to write the names of women who inspire them on pieces of paper.
Alliyah Garcia, senior biology major, said she would have written her grandmother’s name during the exercise.
“I just think about the machismo that goes on between my grandpa and my grandma,” Garcia said. “It’s not really an issue for her… but she’s just like ‘It’s okay. It doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t change who I am.’”
Garcia said that while she does not agree with her grandmother ignoring the issue, she finds it empowering to know that her grandmother is sure of herself.
Misty Levingston, assistant director for the center of multicultural services, recited the final stanza of Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” in an impromptu reading of the poem to close out the event.
Levingston said that she gets emotional every time she reads it because she is a descendent of slaves.
“I get emotional because I am the reality of their dream,” Levingston said. “I have a master’s degree. I’m working in this university that wasn’t made for me at its inception, and I’m here. I am the hope and the dream of the slave.”
Levingston said that it is important to celebrate everyone, not only women, because we are all part of a larger community.
“I’m not male, but we can celebrate men,” Levingston said. “I am not LGBT, but it’s important to celebrate LGBT because our community is LGBT, our community is women, our community is black, our community is Latinx, our community is Asian, our community is everyone.”
David Gonzalez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.