I am my mother’s daughter. I stand on her shoulders just as she stands on my grandmother’s and our ancestors before her. Coming to UF, I knew I wanted to find a community that gave me the same strength my mother and grandmother continue to give me today. I was very lucky to find that community my freshman year in the Women’s Student Association (WSA) and continue to be inspired and strengthened by it.
The people I have met in my time in WSA are the reason I have become who I am today. There is something about being in a professional environment with people who genuinely want to see you grow and succeed that is incredibly uplifting. I have never experienced anything like it. No ulterior motives, no hierarchies or harsh power dynamics. Just a group of people who love women and gender minorities want to educate and empower them.
Being in WSA has been unique because the wish to see gender equity and women’s liberation is often our only commonality. We come from all races, sexualities, career paths, religions… These intersections make our community so special, and it is why we choose to have the difficult but important conversations we have at our events. We often find healing when telling our own stories and find others with shared experiences. We learn from the stories of people unlike ourselves, which gives us the opportunity to learn and grow with each other as community members.
The WSA Women’s History Month theme this year is “Weaving Women’s Stories.” Our events are centered around educating each other about the women whose stories are often left untold and realizing that our different intersections make our stories important. We’ve already celebrated Art Fest, and we have a Self-Care Fair coming up as well as more events with different organizations on campus. We also have a great speaker joining us on April 1 for our closing ceremony; we are excited to announce who it is soon! If you want to keep up with these events, follow us on Facebook or Instagram @UFWSA.
This Women’s History Month, I encourage you to take some time to honor the women of your past and cherish the women of your present. Consider the people who are motivating your success: mentors, classmates, professors. How do you honor them today? Remember the people who celebrate your victories, support your healing, and do the same for them. The women in your life have histories of their own that you may not know. Take some time to learn and laugh with them, whether it’s a professor you admire or a colleague you think is achieving great things. We lift others as we climb. It’s why finding a supportive community of women was so important to me. We need each other to find meaning and happiness and often it is by standing on the shoulders of the women before us that.