Student Diversity and Inclusion hosts women’s history student panel

Quonyel “Yelsz” (left) and Charee Mosby-Holloway (middle) discuss women’s history with panel moderators Ija Wright (middle-right) and Chloe Nailor (right) in the Student Center located at 754 S. Wabash Ave., on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Experiences women face in the workplace, school, and navigating through life in general were main talking points during the panel. Addison Annis

Charee Mosby-Holloway, Columbia’s director of Student Diversity and Inclusion, had a message for Uplift Women Week.

“A lot of women and femme folks, we become very comfortable with being the caregivers to everyone else, but not necessarily expressing our own emotions,” said Mosby-Holloway, who works with students, especially young women, to provide guidance on how to express their own emotions in a sexist and misogynistic society. “Your energy doesn’t always have to go out; it can go inward too.”

Leaders of Student Diversity and Inclusion gathered Wednesday, March 15, at the Student Center for a women’s history panel discussing confidence, diversity and the complexities of being a woman.

The panel consisted of Mosby-Holloway, Coordinator of Equitable Student Success Chloe Nailor, senior Film and Television major Quonyel Shelton, senior marketing major Ija Marie Wright and Columbia graduate Kenyatah Austin.

The women who spoke on the panel were chosen so they could discuss their similar stories Wright said.

Nailor and Wright moderated the panel while Shelton, Austin and Mosby-Holloway answered questions from the moderators and audience.

The panel was one of SDI’s multiple events for Uplift Women Week.

Charee Mosby-Holloway, director of Student Diversity and Inclusion, relays feedback and advice to students listening in on the Women’s History Student Panel on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at the Student Center, located at 754 S. Wabash Ave. Aspects of family and religion regarding women’s history and experience were discussed. Addison Annis

“Putting together Uplift Women’s Week was an opportunity for us to collaborate with a bunch of people, it kind of opens the door for us to do more,” Mosby-Holloway said. “Doing a panel is always a lot of fun to hear different people that are at different stages of their lives or their journeys.”

Mosby-Holloway’s takeaway from the conversation was to highlight the importance of community.

“You’re not alone,” Mosby-Holloway said.

Finding a supportive community and taking care of yourself is important to avoid burn out, Mosby-Holloway added.

“When it comes to gender, having a strict binary of gender is so detrimental because hardly any of us fit neatly into little gender boxes,” Mosby-Holloway said. “If we are able to create a campus where folks are affirmed in their identity, where they have the freedom to explore the freedom to express themselves, everyone can feel comfortable in their community.”

Wright’s goal for the panel was for students to “walk into their power” and speak up.

Students resonate with the speakers and share their own experiences with the group on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, on the 4th floor of the Student Center, located at 754 S. Wabash Ave. The panel leaders created a safe space for listeners, promoting vulnerability. Addison Annis

“Express how you feel. Sometimes we have a lot of things to say and we are our biggest critic,” Wright said. “You speaking out and saying how you feel can inspire others.”

At the end of the panel, Shelton hosted a workshop on finding your confidence and content creation.

Shelton shared a collection of photos and videos from her social media and how taking herself out on dates improved her confidence and mental health.

“What self-dating means to me is really just taking yourself out and just loving yourself,” Shelton said. “I didn’t know who I really was, and I had to find myself through self dating because I was always in a relationship.”

She hopes to use the panel along with the rest of Uplift Women Week to be a voice of encouragement for those who may need it.

“My overall goal is just to make sure everybody knows that it’s okay,” Shelton said. “You are beautiful the way you look and you should always feel like you are beautiful.”