IGNITE’s Last College Council of the Semester

         On Saturday the 17th, students from Spelman and Agnes Scott gathered in Alston, in the leadership suite, for IGNITE’s last college council of the year. You know IGNITE from their hugely successful election night watch party, co-sponsored by everyone from MSA to the Public Health Club. But IGNITE does more than sponsor awesome events. They are a non-profit, non-partisan national organization dedicated to putting more women in positions of power, which is why confetti was thrown every time a woman was elected, regardless of party.

        IGNITE’s college councils are for every chapter in the city area, and occasionally features a guest speaker. On Saturday, the focus of the event was discussing the results of the mid-term elections. After time to socialize and enjoy a catered breakfast, the council was called to order with an icebreaker. Members broke into pairs, practicing pitching IGNITE and themselves to various famous women they might want to speak. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton were all mimicked.

        After getting a little more comfortable with each other, members split into two groups, carefully created based on state of origin. Representatives were present from Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia (of course), and more. In each group, the state election was discussed in terms of gender and party lines, with a chance to talk about how they felt. Though the organization is non-partisan, the members are not. After these small group discussions, the group came together again to debrief every state but Georgia. Some, like Florida and Texas, required lengthy discussion, while less contentious races like Illinois were covered more quickly.

        Sandwiches and salad provided the strength needed for the next activity of the day: discussing the results of the Georgia gubernatorial race. Stacey Abrams had only just conceded the day before, and the emotion in the room was palpable. The women talked about why Stacey lost, and how white women can be better allies to women of color. Kirsten Jackson, the Atlanta IGNITE fellow, says that Stacey “busted the door wide open, and she’s holding it for someone else.” This is the kind of hopeful thinking that the council was all about. People were free to express their disappointment and various reactions, surrounded by those who also want to see women in power. Says Jackson, “I appreciate IGNITE so much because having this mindset is amazing. It’s so important to have a political voice and know the importance of voting. Be in the different arenas where they say: you aren’t supposed to be here.” Agnes Scott will host the IGNITE Young Women Run conference in February.


Images via Kirsten Jackson