Camaraderie, Friendship and Sisterhood at Young Women of Color Symposium

By Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Rolanda Shepard
The 2023 Young Women of Color Symposium hosted at Parker on Saturday, March 25 was an enormous success. More than 150 students registered, representing 17 schools from the Chicago area.

The day began with smiling young ladies pouring into the Front alcove and greeting each other like old friends. The joys of camaraderie, friendship and sisterhood filled the atmosphere. The Symposium consisted of performances, workshops and a choice of one of eight affinity group sessions. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Shirlene Obuobi, wowed the crowd by sharing her journey to becoming a successful physician, author and cartoonist. Dr. Obuobi showed the young women that you can pursue your passion and your dreams even when they don’t appear to align. She encouraged them to dream big and to silence the naysayers.

The Symposium was created because there are far too many spaces where women of color are not as celebrated or respected as they should be. In order to protect, support and empower young women of color, Francis W. Parker School and Loyola Academy have partnered together for the last three years creating spaces for conversation, connection and community. This Symposium is one step on the path to changing the narrative and encouraging the resilience of the voices of young women of color. The student and adult planning committees from both schools have worked together for the last seven months in preparation for this enormous event.

We are thrilled that the Young Women of Color Symposium continues to thrive.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.