If you told me as a teenager that I would a) earn a graduate degree, and b) work at an institution like Chapman University, I would never have believed you. I simply did not believe that either of these things were in the cards for me. As a first-generation college student and someone who grew up with limited financial resources, I am no stranger to the inequities and barriers that exist within the world of higher education.
Pushing Back on Imposter Syndrome
Truthfully speaking, I have experienced imposter syndrome at points in my life. These experiences tend to occur in situations where I am the single differing voice in a room full of much louder ones, or when I interact with people who have biased views around women in leadership roles.
As a woman, I experience microaggressions and scrutiny that my male counterparts simply do not. One key lesson (or a mantra, if you will) that has stayed at the forefront of my mind, especially when I think about leadership, is that I must amplify my voice in spaces where I know it needs to be heard. This is not always easy; in fact, it can be incredibly difficult, but I believe that it’s an important and necessary part of being a courageous leader.
Uplifting All Women
I acknowledge that I possess inherent privilege as a white-passing, cisgender woman living in this world. So, in addition to speaking my own truth, it is also important to recognize the role I can play to uplift voices who are too often dismissed or not included in important conversations (i.e.: our Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) friends, our friends with disabilities, our LGBTQIA+ friends). I have learned that allyship is a continual practice and commitment, not an arrived destination.
Getting involved with the Chapman Diversity Project is one of the best decisions I have made at Chapman. Through these groups, I have had the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people from all walks of life on initiatives that have made a true impact on this campus. I am continually inspired by their passion for social justice and their unique ability to build meaningful community spaces.
We have a long way to go at Chapman with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion, but I am so heartened to know that there are a number of people here who are committed to making Chapman a more equitable place.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us not forget to learn and share the stories of BIPOC women who used their voices for good like Marsha P. Johnson, Winona LaDuke, and bell hooks. After all, feminism is not feminism unless it is intersectional.