Women of Color Alliance diversifies its audience

March 6, 2020

UPDATED: 3/10 6:30 p.m.

Recently, the Women of Color Alliance (WOCA) has diversified its audience so that more people would feel welcome to attend. The main goal of WOCA is to create connections among different groups of women and as a result create a community. The club aims to support each and every one of its members in any way possible. General meetings happen on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. They are conversation-based and a topic is chosen for each meeting, however, no one is required to speak: conversations can go in any direction. The general meetings are meant to be an outlet for different conversations that individuals need to have on this campus. 

In an interview with The Hoot, Leah Naraine ’22, the vice president of WOCA, explained that she got involved with this club during her freshman year of high school because she wanted to try something different with a strong community. In addition, during high school, Naraine was involved in various leadership positions, such as being a part of her high school student council. Once she transitioned to college, she wanted to continue being a leader, but in clubs rather than on the student council. As vice president, Naraine works closely with the president of WOCA and oversees the club’s operations. Naraine coordinates events, books spaces, creates the general meeting topics and is a point of connection for people. In general, Naraine tries to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

In the past, one of the topics at the general meetings was how women who come from different cultures wear their hair. Naraine explained that, in her culture, it is important for women to have long hair but for Naraine, the length of her hair is not important. In addition, some African American or black women choose to chemically straighten their hair and others may not. The club discussed that the way individuals wear their hair varies based on the culture they come from along with their own preferences. 

Previously, attendance at WOCA was heavily self-identified women of color, though the group has always been open to all community members regardless of race or gender. This conversation began during the fall semester during a general meeting. As of now, WOCA E-Board has made many changes such as altering the description of their club. In addition, in a future event titled the “Women of the World Mixer,” WOCA will be hosting a speaker who is non-binary. Naraine hopes that these adjustments will show the Brandeis community that WOCA is changing.

WOCA is continuously trying to expand their audience and reach out to all women rather than specific groups. They have done so through collaborations with other cultural clubs, the most recent event being with Brandeis Latinx Student Organization (BLSO) on March 5 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Intercultural Center (ICC). The event centered around the concept of radical sisterhood, in which different groups of women of color come together.

Naraine explains that there are many divisions among cultures, therefore there’s something impactful in women coming together, sharing ideas and supporting each other. Future events include the Annual High Tea Brewing Professionals which will happen on March 14, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the ICC. Brandeis WOCA alumni will be coming back to campus to talk about their experiences and how being a part of WOCA has benefitted them in the long run. This event revolves around networking, therefore students will get the opportunity to mingle with and learn from the alumni. The next event is the Women of the World Mixer which will occur on April 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A guest speaker who is non-binary along with women who have created large changes in their community will be speaking at this event. Lastly, there will be a paint night in April. 

In the future, WOCA is looking for new E-board members as many of the current E-board members are graduating. Narain emphasizes that being a part of the E-board is not a terribly time-consuming job. Attend a general meeting to learn more! 

Correction: An earlier of this article incorrectly stated that the Women of Color Alliance was previously exclusive to women of color. The Women of Color Alliance is open to all students regardless of race and gender, though many attendees in the past identify as cis-gender women of color.

Menu Title