Gabrielle Union, Angela Rye and Lisa Ling discuss the importance and struggles of being women of color.
Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. held his Town Hall on Sept. 12th in Harrison Auditorium at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC to a packed house of engaged audience members. The woman’s issues forum featured a panel with Gabrielle Union, Lisa Ling, and Angela Rye, moderated by NBC reporter, Danya Bacchus.
“People say, what comes first? Your womanist or your blackness? I say neither, I am a black woman. You cannot separate the two.” said Gabrielle Union, star of BET’s hit show “Being Mary Jane”
Angela Rye, CNN social advocate correspondent, added to the conversation by speaking about how women of color do not need to allow components like being a minority or being a woman, act as blockade of equality, specifically in receiving things like equal pay.
“Black Lives Matters, well black pay matters too” said Rye.
“This is Life” star Lisa Ling also noted that there is a patriarchal hierarchy that allows inequalities like the wage gap to take place in present day society.
“Women historically have been less willing to stand up for themselves, and I am hoping that that would change with this generation.” said Ling.
Union spoke to how this type of gender equality even affects factors that seem independent from gender inequality like parenting.
“When I teach my boys in our household how to stand up for themselves, it’s very threatening. When my male best friend does the same thing, he’s a natural born leader.” said Union.
Ling noted, how gender and race play a role in the way women of color have limited access speaking about how there is unintentional prejudice when it comes to factors like gender directly impacting things such as visibility.
“I do not think that there is a malicious intent behind it, but sometimes they just don’t see you.” said Ling.
Union, highly active in sex trafficking prevention, spoke about rape and its affects on women. “Rape is about control and violence, period.” said Union.
“Human trafficking is rampant in America, but its not called human trafficking. It’s called prostitution.”
said Ling, who has highlighted and documented rape culture throughout different societies through her different docu-series.
Moderator A&T alum, Danya Bacchus closed out the event with a recitation of Maya Angelou’s “I Rise.”
Spectators of the event, which included many students and faculty seemed to have enjoyed it. Union, Rye, Ling, and Bacchus all stayed after to take pictures with students.
The series was launched a few months ago in March 2017 and was an initiative that Chancellor Martin Sr. created to bring renowned individuals for in depth discussion on A&T’s campus. The first town hall included Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and there he discussed building community as it streamed on Facebook live to millions of viewers.
There was a lot controversy on A&T campus surrounding who would and who wouldn’t be able to see this amazing panel of women. Tickets were made available on September 23rd and were unavailable in less than two hours. Many students wished that the event was placed in a larger location allowing more students the opportunity to hear this panel. For those who attended, it was one for the books.
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