The Gallery of Empowerment was hosted on March 8, International Women’s Day. Memoirs, original artwork and novels were on display, all of which celebrated the power of femininity. One facet of the display encaptured the progress made with the aid of pioneering women, such as Selena Quintanilla, Celia Cruz and Frida Kahlo.
The gallery inspired the viewer through the past and present as the incorporation of student works sat alongside these avant-garde women. Raven Jackson, a student and one of the poets displayed, used the challenges she faces and “channels [her] emotions in a positive way” by creating art and encouraging others to find their own niche.
Jackson’s poem “Angry Black Bitch” questions a stereotype by guiding the reader throughout seemingly mundane situations, forcing the reader to question themselves or possibly others they have encountered. Most importantly, Jackson’s poem ends on the note of empowerment and reiterates to the reader how crucial it is to advocate for what is right. Kyra Donahoo also wrote an exceptional poem. Titleless, the poem still speaks for itself by epitomizing the balance of strength and softness of a women.
Viewers were also able to transition through time based on achievements made in women’s rights, starting all the way back to the 19th century.
Accompanied with women empowering soundtracks, quotes were placed along the ways. Some of my favorites were,“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” from Eleanor Roosevelt and “The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves,” said by Barbara Corcoran.
The gallery also featured a woman named Berta Cáceres from Honduras, “an environmental activist, indigenous leader of her people and co-founder of the council of popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, an organization to support indigenous people’s right in Honduras.” She sadly was assassinated, along with many other activists in 2014. However, the outrage of the brutal treatment of activists in Honduras shed a light on Càceres and her cause. In 2015 she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize.
One of the directors of the gallery, Kayla Berry, an RA in Hollis Hall, said that she portrays feminism by, “Realizing [her] potential, being a silent role model and being a leader in the community.” She tries to relay the message to other girls that, “once you find your passion, your ability to achieve whatever you want is within you.”