The Women of Color Alliance (WOCA) hosted their first campus event at the Dalton Theatre last Saturday to celebrate and share the life experiences of their members with the Kalamazoo community.
When Daniela Rojas K’18 and Rumsha Sajid K’18 sat down together to talk candidly about what it was like to be a woman of color on the Kalamazoo campus last spring, they never imagined that one conversation could bring together a whole community in discourse. It was from this one conversation that the WOCA organization was formed and Saturday’s show made a reality.
“This show presents a space to exalt the woman of color’s voice for the first time in campus history,” said Rojas, a member of the WOCA executive board, at the opening of the performance.
The show included numerous performances from Kalamazoo’s women of color. The performers captivated the crowd with original poetry, unique renditions of popular songs, and spoken word pieces. Many of the performers read pieces they had either written themselves or directly related to their life experiences as a woman of color.
“These are such raw performances and there’s so much passion within what they’re doing. It’s this intoxicating beauty that’s inside every single one of the performers,” said Auyne Scott-Anderson K’18, a WOCA executive board member.
WOCA strives to create a space on campus for women of color to connect with one another and tell their own narratives. The club meets weekly on Monday nights and focuses on issues of womanhood, sexuality, beauty, and self-confidence in a college context.
“People on this campus talk a lot about what it means to be a woman of color but it never really comes from our own mouths,” said Sajid, the WOCA President. Sajid and Rojas came together last spring to create the WOCA Student Organization.
Karina Duante K’18, another executive board member, describes the performances as a testimony of a woman of color on a college campus far outside of the classroom environment.
After the performance, the alliance signed their new constitution to celebrate the first year of being a student organization. The constitution is meant to serve as a means of structure and sustainability for the future, Sajid said.