Black Women’s Wellness & Empowerment Summit celebrates strides while looking forward

Participants, presenters, and some of the members of the planning committee for the Black Women’s Wellness & Empowerment Summit

Participants came together on a Saturday earlier this month to raise cultural awareness of the unique challenges and roles black women have shouldered in shaping their collective experiences throughout history, staying true to the summit’s theme “'Nevertheless, She Persisted': Resilience Beyond the Margins.”

Undergraduate students, graduate students, IU faculty and staff, as well as Bloomington community members, attended the all-day event, where they heard from keynote speakers and panelists on a range of topics, including black women’s sexual and relationship wellness, black joy, political activism and community engagement, and body empowerment among black girls and women. 

The summit was lead by School of Education graduate student Nelson Zounlome and an interdisciplinary group of students; Dr. Kerrie Wilkins-Yel, assistant professor in Counseling and Educational Psychology, was one of the advisors.

“Our first hope is that our diverse attendees walked away with a greater understanding of the experiences of Black girls and women,” Zounlome said. “More importantly, for Black girls and women, we hope that they left feeling rejuvenated, inspired, and empowered to become better advocates for their holistic well-being.”

This event was made possible by the generous support of School of Education Dean Lemuel Watson and many IU schools, groups and faculty: the Women’s Philanthropy Council, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for the School of Public Health, the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, the Dean of Students Office, the Department of History, Counseling Psychology Program, the IU Health Center, the Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program and Drs. Debby Herbenick and Keino Miller.

Wilkins-Yel also wanted to especially thank campus partners the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and the Black Women in Technology (BWiT) , a special alliance team within the Center for Excellence for Women in Technology (CEWiT).