West Virginia University celebrates diversity with Women of Color Luncheon

West Virginia University holds an annual, week-long celebration of diversity on campus. Diversity week is sponsored by the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. One of the annual events is the Women of Color Luncheon. This year was the 31st year the luncheon was held, and consequently the largest event in history. 415 people were in attendance; tickets sold out in August. The theme of the luncheon was “our voices together." The purpose of this event was to speak about problems that women and minorities are facing in our nation.

The keynote speaker of the event was Ifeoma Ike, two-time graduate of WVU. Ike gave an emotional speech, addressing the issues women face with sexual assault. She also addressed the problems our nation is facing with electing Brett Kavanaugh to be a Supreme Court Justice. She wants to bring attention to women’s concerns, as Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford testifies her experience with sexual assault on a national level.

Ike spoke to women of color and allies in the audience. She wanted to make it clear that we need to speak out in order to create change. Allies, such as men, or white women, need to use their privilege to help people that don’t have a voice. The power of the individual isn’t enough; we must combine forces to tackle big issues. “To build what we need to build, we also need to know what to destroy,” Ike said.

The luncheon welcomed faculty, students and alumni of WVU. Several prominent members of the Council for Women’s Concerns put together the event. One guest, Jim Denova, traveled from Pittsburgh to attend this event for the first time. “Ike’s speech was intricate, well thought-out, and she effectively weaved past court cases with what’s currently happening in our country,” said Denova.

WVU’s diversity week brings students from different backgrounds together. Students and faculty are educated on a variety of topics in order to create understanding for each other in a safe environment.