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Nevertheless, She Persisted

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” which stems from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s effort in silencing Senator Elizabeth Warren in the middle of a speech. Shades of Ebony and the Gender Relations Center (GRC) host Women’s Week and always center it around the women’s history month theme. Their main event of the week is the women’s week dinner.


The event was in perfect cohesion with the theme. It was beautiful and the ladies clearly put so much thought into it. The best part of the dinner was the speaker, Krystal Hardy Allen. If you did not have the opportunity to attend the dinner, I hope you will have the chance to listen to Krystal Allen speak at some point.


“Krystal is a first-generation college student and also a Notre Dame grad, Class of 2007. She was a part of BSA and Shades while she attended Notre Dame. Krystal went on to receive her Masters in Education Administration from NLU-Chicago and is currently getting her doctorate from Columbia University, as well as holding a spot as a Clinical Faculty member. Krystal founded her own firm, K. Allen Consulting, which is geared towards supporting K-12 schools and their leaders. Her work led to her being invited to the White House under the Obama Administration,” (Shades of Ebony).


I am writing this article in order to pull out some key points in her speech. The speech was so powerful and the key points should be shared with people outside of the dinner. It connects to women, men, people of color, and multiple generations.


Every accomplishment has its set of struggles and teaching moments.


Krystal began her speech talking about how with every accomplishment she’s received, there was a struggle and a teaching moment. This was not only important for me to hear, but also other people in the room. It is really easy to attend an event like this and see someone for only the accomplishments they have made. I appreciated Krystal being open to us about some of the struggles she has gone through as a Black woman in a male dominated space.


“Not everyone in your face is in your corner.”


One of the struggles Krystal mentioned was the fact that people were rooting for her prior to seeing her achievements, however, they were nowhere to be found when it came time to congratulating her or sticking up for her. This was such a valuable piece of advice because so often we are told to network and make so many friends, but quality is more important than quantity. Of course, it is important to network, but it is more important to recognize those true friendships. These are the friends who will stick with you through thick and thin.


“We need to learned to adjust each other’s crowns without letting the world know it was crooked.”


Being a woman is really tough and there are other layers of our identities that can make it harder. These include being a woman of color, having a low socioeconomic status, a disability, etc. Krystal drew attention to this, but went further to say that it is not enough to just recognize those struggles but to uplift other women. Too often women are easily pitted against each other and we go along with it. If we do not uplift each other, then who else will?


Public Success and Private Failure


With the presence of social media, it is really easy to look at someone’s profile and see how “perfect” their life is. Every picture is a smiley face and they have so many likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. However, Krystal pointed out that these public successes don’t mean anything if there are private failures. Maybe the person in the picture is actually going through a rough patch or is really insecure and therefore feels the need to always post online.


“I had to learn to accept the criticism from people who I deemed to be less competent than me because we can all learn from someone.”


This quote really speaks for itself and it is so powerful, and yet not admitted too often. Many people probably feel this way and I am so grateful Krystal shared this piece of advice. It can be really easy graduating from a place like Notre Dame and entering into a space feeling as though you are more competent than others, therefore you cannot learn anything from them. We can learn from EVERYONE regardless of their degree, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, etc.


These were just a few of the important points Krystal made and I am sure everyone walked out of the dinner with twenty more. It was an overall beautiful event and I cannot wait to see what Shades of Ebony and the GRC has in store for us in the future. I also cannot wait to see how Krystal’s career continues to progress.


Below is a picture of the Shades of Ebony and their advisor, Dr. Alyssia Coates. (Brianna Hagans-Johnson, Chioma Amuzie, Deborah Bineza, Krystal Hardy Allen, Taja Reynolds, Dayonni Phillips, Dr. Alyssia Coates, Cayla Andrews; not pictured: Melody Wilson).


Photographer: Qai Gordon


Images: 1, 2, 3

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Helena James

Notre Dame

Hello! I am a junior at Notre Dame currently pursuing a degree in Business Analytics with a minor in Public Policy. I spend my free time hanging out with my friends, experimenting with makeup, doing my natural hair, watching youtube tutorials, and working out. 
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