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Women’s Empowerment student group plans week of events

March is National Women’s History Month, and the University of Houston-Victoria Women’s Empowerment student organization is celebrating by hosting WE’MERICA Week starting March 25 through 28.

Dominique Mitchell

WE’MERICA Week will feature free events open to the public. Each event is intended to highlight part of women’s experiences in the U.S. and the world, said Dominique Mitchell, a UHV junior from Kingston, Jamaica, and president of the Women’s Empowerment organization.

“The goal through this week is to embrace and promote awareness,” said Cherlyn Hodge, UHV student success coach and the Women’s Empowerment staff advisor. “I am proud to see these students’ hard work, and I hope women are inspired by the different events to speak up and share their experiences, good and bad.”

The week will open with WE KICK BOXIN’ from 4 to 6 p.m. March 25 in Jaguar Hall Commons, 2705 Houston Highway. Attendees are invited to attend a self-defense class taught by Elvin Mumphord, a trainer and UHV security guard. In addition to defensive techniques, the event is intended to increase awareness of domestic violence.

Cherlyn Hodge

On March 26, Women’s Empowerment will host Just Smile from 1 to 3 p.m. at a table in UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Just Smile is intended to promote self-confidence and self-esteem, Mitchell said. Attendees will have their picture taken with a Polaroid camera, then receive a compliment and have another picture taken. Participants then can compare the two pictures and see how much difference a positive comment can make.

Beginning at 8 p.m. that same day, the group will host a Netflix ’n’ Swim event at the Jaguar Suites pool, 2703 Houston Highway. The group will show a movie and serve refreshments, including mocktails, candy kabobs and other treats, while attendees enjoy relaxing in and by the pool.

On March 27, the group will host a #THISISWO’MERICA Panel from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Walker Auditorium in UHV University North, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St., that will focus on discussions of issues that women face every day. On the panel will be female UHV students, faculty and staff, as well as Eric Leonard, a Victoria College faculty member. Some topics open for discussion will include the R. Kelly and Bill Cosby scandals, rape culture, gender roles and microagressions women commonly face. 

“We want this to be a safe place for women to come share their experiences and voice their opinions,” Mitchell said. “Some of these topics likely will cause some tough discussions, but we need to have those discussions. We should be able to speak freely about things, and I hope people come ready to add to the conversation.”

The final event will be the #IAMWE Fashion Show at 8 p.m. March 28 in the University North Multi-Purpose Room. The show will feature models who are a variety of sizes, body shapes, races and skin colors. The models will walk the runway, then share personal insecurities they struggled with and how those issues eventually were overcome or embraced. 

“We want to end the week with something high energy,” Mitchell said. “The show will help us put insecurities in perspective, share our struggles and celebrate our victories. As women, we’re all on the same team, and we want to share that message.”

To learn more about the events, contact Mitchell at mitchelld@uhv.edu.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities, and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.