Expressing awareness

By Linda Luk

S.I.S.T.E.R.S. Organization, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and Health Enhancement Services will present a symposium on women’s health issues titled Empowering You, Empowering Me.

“The Women’s Health Symposium is when women will have an opportunity to learn more and connect more with the mind, body and spirit,” said Tara McDonald, historian of Sigma Gamma Rho. “They will learn about different diseases affecting women, especially African-American women, such as diabetes.”

The symposium will consist of a series of speakers focusing on the the topics of mind, body and spirit and how it relates to black women, said LaVerne Gyant, director of the Center for Black Studies.

Issues that will be discussed as it relates to black women include depression, cancer, AIDS and diabetes. Free HIV testing and free diabetes testing also will be provided at the symposium.

“It will be a wonderful experience to have and to be able to hear eight speakers for free and provide knowledge,” said Rayna Coleman, president of S.I.S.T.E.R.S. “Events like this don’t happen every semester.”

Speakers from all over will be speaking on a wide variety of topics ranging from mediation to motivation.

“It is a great day to come out to network with women across the campus and the nation,” said McDonald, an FCNS child development major.

This will be the first time the event has been hosted; however, this may be made into annual event.

“We hope that the community will come out and just get some knowledge and tips on health issues for women of color and how to maintain a balance between mind, body and spirit,” Gyant said.

The event is targeted toward women of all ages, shapes and color, McDonald said.

Sandra Belman, coordinator for Health Enhancement Services, said this event is open to everyone.

“Everyone and anyone can benefit from this event, including men,” Belman said. “They share our lives and it is important for them to know what the these issues are.”

This event initially was brought to campus by S.I.S.T.E.R.S. and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., but Health Enhancement Services soon jumped on board.

“A couple of girls from S.I.S.T.E.R.S. attended the International Black Women of Congress national conference and felt that it is important for females on our campus to learn about,” McDonald said. “We [Sigma Gamma Rho] wanted to do a program on cancer, and we thought doing it together will bring more people, and it shows unity as African-American women.”

Belman supported this event because black women are over-represented in many health categories such as STDs, cancer and abuse.

“We are mainly providing resources and support for this event,” Belman said. “We provided educational items such as handouts.”

Gyant hopes that people attending this event will make the mind, body and spirit connection and become more productive people.

“I really hope people come to the symposium with an open mind and ready to learn,” McDonald said. “If they take one thing from the event that change their life, I will be happy.”