Banquet held to honor 32nd Women’s History Month

“Today we are here to celebrate women,” said junior Kendra Guzman, president of Hispanos Unidos de Guilford (HUG). “We are here to celebrate all women. We are here to celebrate trans women, those who identify as non-binary and all who identify as women.”

In celebration of Women’s History Month, HUG collaborated with the Women and Non-Binary Student Association to host the annual Women’s History Month Banquet on Friday, Mar. 15, in the Carnegie Room of Hege Library.

The focus of the 32nd Women’s History Month, on which the banquet centered its focus around, was marked by the theme declared by the Women’s History Project, “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” The event sought to honor and uplift women who have led efforts to end war, injustices and violence around the world.

“If HUG wasn’t here to host this event, then I feel like this event wouldn’t happen and there wouldn’t be any events surrounding Women’s History Month here at Guilford,” Guzman said. “And it’s important for us to celebrate Women’s History Month here because there’s women all across this campus and there isn’t a specific day or specific event that’s here to celebrate women.”

To kick off the banquet event, attendees were invited to eat snacks and interact with other community members while “Love on Top” by Beyonce and “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis, among other songs from women of pop, played in the background.

Haydyn Foulke, president of the Women and Non-Binary Student Association, introduced the efforts of the club, opening the floor for the first speaker of the event.

“We’re a new club, we just formed this semester,” Foulke said. “Our goal is to unite women and non-binary folk to support one another as we work to dismantle the oppressive systems that exist on campus and also in the community.”

Following a spoken word poem by sophomore Erin Jeffers, Angela Anderson stepped forward to tell her story of what Women’s History Month means to her.

“I don’t want to see my sister as my competition,” Anderson said. “We have to work together. We have to grow together.”

Anderson is a police officer who has served for 14 years at the Greensboro Police Department and is currently studying political science at Guilford. She was recently promoted to a corporal position. Anderson continued, speaking on her experience with working as a part of the police department.

“I’m competitive,” Anderson said. “I’ve got to be the best of the best. I have to be number one so nobody can say, ‘They just gave this to you because you’re a female.’ That’s the mentality that I have going through the police department.”

“I’ve spent so much time saying, ‘It’s a Man’s World,’” Anderson said. “And ‘I want to show I’m as good as a guy’ that now, that’s my standard. It’s probably a lot of our standards. I can do that just as good as men? A man can do that just as good as me.”

Upon inviting the audience to share their first thoughts when thinking of a police officer, one voice in the crowd responded with, “a white man.” Anderson continued speaking on this thought, highlighting the underrepresentation of women that is evident in the police department.

“That’s right,” Anderson said. “You can count on two hands the number of women we have in leadership in our department. Out of a department of 700 officers.”

Anderson provided additional thoughts on this discussion.

“I want my children to draw a picture of a young woman when they think of a police officer,” Anderson said.

Afterwards, Guilford student Caroline Sprenger shared poems she had written and titled, “That’s It,” and “Sugar and Decomposition,” which speak on the topic of navigating trauma while in a relationship.

The event concluded with sophomore Fatima Hernandez sharing her story of domestic abuse. Hernandez shared her story in hopes of encouraging other women to stay strong when faced with similar circumstances.

“This story was to let everyone who is in an abusive relationship or in an abusive home know that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Hernandez said. “There is hope for you. Don’t give up hope. Get up and fight.”

The month held special significance for Guzman, who was grateful for the event and HUG’s collaboration with the Women and Non-Binary Student Association.

“Today was to celebrate all the accomplishments and everything that women have contributed not only to Guilford, but the world in general,” Guzman said. “To me, Women’s History Month means celebrating all women no matter what they work as or what they do.

“We come from many years of oppression and although we’re making some strides, this is an ongoing fight and we need to be reminded.”