SF State Women's Center to host first ever conference

Members of the SF State Women’s Center have made countless efforts over the years to build a strong community and spread optimism throughout the campus. Saturday, March 10, these efforts will be manifest in what they hope is a moving conference that will feature a couple of special guests.

The ASI First Annual Women’s Conference: Breaking Boundaries will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Jack Adams Hall in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. The theme of breaking boundaries refers to pushing away from confining stereotypes and progressing in life regardless of obstacles.

Members of the Women’s Center have been planning this event for nearly six months and have one main goal: that those who attend the conference leave with a sense of empowerment.

“I hope people leave feeling enlightened and learn something here that they can apply to their own life,” said Chris Henderson, a sociology major and office assistant for the Women’s Center. “I want people to realize that they can break boundaries and overcome anything.”

The idea for the conference originated after members of the Women’s Center began attending conferences at other universities. Keynote speakers at the event are Issa Rae, creator of the online television show “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” and Ericka Huggins, a human rights activist, professor, political prisoner and poet.

Huggins hopes women feel unified after she shares her story.

“I’m so glad this event is happening and that it has this particular theme,” Huggins said. “I want people to realize that even though we are all women, we are not all alike. If we can appreciate one another and talk with one another about our differences, then we can move forward into a future that does not include the violence and the abuse of women.”

At age 19, Huggins was a widow and single mother. A former member of the Black Panther Party, she was arrested in the 1960s and spent nearly two years in prison before her case was dismissed by a jury.

“I want to share what I’ve learned about myself and about the world,” Huggins said. “When you’re sitting there in partial solitary confinement, reflection is a big part of your day. I speak because I want people to know the powerful and resilient qualities of humanity.”

Krista Hayes, associate director of the Women’s Center, selected Huggins to be the event’s keynote speaker because of her inspirational story.

“Ericka is the perfect person to speak at the conference because she really has broken boundaries,” said Hayes. “The fact that she lost her husband at such a young age and was still out there in the community helping others really impressed me. I think it’s amazing that she went through that as a young woman.”

Although the messages at the conference will be geared toward women, Hayes encourages men to attend in order gain a new perspective.

“Just because it’s a woman’s conference doesn’t mean men can’t attend,” Hayes said. “We coexist in the same world and we have to work together as a community. That’s part of what this conference is about.”

Even though this is the first conference the Women’s Center has put on, Hayes hopes it will be one to remember.

“I hope people learn something about themselves during this conference,” said Hayes. “It’s really something beautiful when you can see so many people in one place loving each other and being a community.”