MSA initiative unites and empowers women of color on campus

Attenders of MSA’s Centering Self-Love event pose for a photo on Feb. 14, 2024. Photo credit: Cecelia Runner
Attenders of MSA’s Centering Self-Love event pose for a photo on Feb. 14, 2024.
Attenders of MSA’s Centering Self-Love event pose for a photo on Feb. 14, 2024. Photo credit: Cecelia Runner

Enough, a program by Multicultural Student Affairs, instills confidence in diverse female students through monthly luncheons and group discussions that promote mentorship, leadership and networking skills.

The organization feels women of color’s battle to lead in a white or male-dominated workspace can surge competition between those who need to unite most. Enough hosts then empowerment sessions to remind attendees of collaboration’s power and how one diverse woman’s success can mean a more welcoming future for all.

Madison Rojas, the MSA associate director, works with Enough leaders junior Kevmely Antonie, Enough co-founder Sierra Straker and PhD candidate Guerdiana Thelomar to unite women of color.

“We’re fighting for what we think is a limited resource of power, money, wealth, knowledge,” Antonie said. “When you’re stepping on other people of color, you’re also bringing yourself down.”

As a past first-generation college student, Rojas recalled her previous individualistic mindset.

“Always having it ingrained in my mind that I had to fight for my space, I had to fight for my presence to be recognized in these spaces,” Rojas said.

Rojas’ first months as a MSA staff introduced her to an inclusive workspace, which promoted collaboration, contrary to her previous experiences. Her initial mindset then morphed into one that puts ‘we’ before ‘me.’

“I’m in an environment where I’m uplifted,” Rojas said. “You may not be thinking that you’re harming others or not uplifting those around you until you actually have someone that’s there sharing these things with you because they want you to advance with them.”

Her experience showed an institution’s power when run by empathy instead of domination, the institutions Enough promotes.

Speak with intention instead of domination

“We just need to listen to each other,” Starker said. “Have a fruitful conversation to see where [our partners] are, see how similar we are, to develop that vulnerability and make that space for love to flourish.”

By enlisting more women of color to create more collaborative work environments, Enough sees a loving world within reach.

“Looking at society now, we have this idea of ‘the others,’ the people who are other than me,” Antonie said. “When you have women of color in those positions of leadership, that idea of otherness goes away.”

The organization invites people to create positive affirmation jars, release negative self-talk and reignite their inner confidence with monthly events.

Enough hosted “Centering Self-Love: Women of Power in Academia,” a discussion where panelists shared strategies on navigating higher education, preserving your confidence and practicing self-love as women of color.

With a “Women’s History Month: Passions, Entrepreneurship, Influence” event on March 7, Enough continues to provide diverse womens’ leadership skills to kickstart their path toward success.

Each event aids Enough’s mission to embody the welcoming and nurturing environment they believe the world can be for women of color.

“As a graduate student, the journey can be isolating,” Thelomar said. “Enough and MSA has been a great way for me to be intentional about having a community for myself and navigating this space.”

Enough seeks to shatter diverse female students’ negative self-perceptions and reaffirm that they are deserving of opportunities, growth and professional development.

“There are several times, especially navigating a predominantly white institution, where you don’t feel adequate just by being in the space,” Straker said. “If you tell yourself in the mirror, ‘you are enough, you got up today,’ celebrating the little things, you’re able to celebrate the bigger things.”

Enough brings people together

“Even if it may feel you’re going through these things alone or you may feel you’re the only one who has certain thoughts or viewpoints, you’re not alone,” Thelomar said. “There’s a whole village and community out there who’s willing and ready to support you.”

Enough works to plant seeds of leadership, positivity and progress in its members and event attendees. Those who represent and spread Enough’s values are the organizations’ future, according to its leaders.

Commemorate Women’s History Month with Enough on March 6 at their entrepreneurship discussion at 5 p.m. in the Shalala Student Center. Supporters can follow Enough’s mission to cement diverse female students’ space on campus on their Instagram @enough.woc.