Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters is celebrating the end of Black History Month and the beginning of Women’s History Month with its annual Celebration of Black Womanhood Week, during which the group hosts events that highlight the unique intersectionality of these two identities.
BOSS, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this semester, was created in the aftermath of the 1968 protests as a response to how the activist groups leading these protests at Columbia tended to be white and male-dominated. In 1969, the newly-formed group made 10 demands to the college, in hopes of bettering the experience of the 80 black women on campus at the time.
CBWW, which officially began on Monday, Feb. 25 and will end with the annual “In the Spirit of Zora” event on Friday, March 1, is composed of events that include a faculty luncheon,; viewings of movies and events such as the Oscars, which will be followed by discussions; a trivia raffle in the Diana Center; and the premiere of the movie Fast Color at the Athena Film Festival.
The socio-cultural chair of BOSS, Helen Branyan, BC ’20, believes this week is especially important because of its focus on highlighting black women, whose voices can be overlooked during Black History Month events.
“Black History Month, in general, is a celebration of black people and black history and sometimes women’s voices can get excluded from the conversation,” Branyan said. “I think black women, as a social group, is different from the larger population at large, so I think it’s great to have a week that is solely for black women, especially on this campus and especially for BOSS.”
Branyan also encouraged other students of color at Barnard, and anyone who wishes to celebrate black womanhood, to participate in the week’s events.
“We’re always open to and super welcoming of all people and women of color. This week is a celebration of black womanhood, but black is intersectional and we recognize that,” Branyan said. “It also doesn’t mean you have to be black to celebrate black women. I wanted to make … events such as movies or trivia and raffles, [which] are a great opportunity to support black women in one way or another and also to learn.”