WFU Sister's Inspirational Summit features social activist Marcia Dyson

By Pam Barrett
March 22, 2006

Wake Forest University will hold its third annual Sister's Inspirational Summit: "Strength, Honor and Ethnicity" from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 1 in Benson University Center. The one-day summit will include several workshops on minority health and nutrition, spirituality, empowerment and self-marketing as well as a reception with music, dance and drama performances. The summit will conclude with a keynote address by social activist and author the Rev. Marcia L. Dyson, who will speak on "Awakening Eve: Arousing the Spiritual and Social Conscious in Women."

Marcia L. Dyson

Women from several colleges across North Carolina are scheduled to attend the summit. Women from the community are also encouraged to attend. The keynote address at 7 p.m. will be the only event open to both men and women. All events are free, but registration is required.

Dyson, a Chicago native and graduate of Chicago State University, is an ordained minister, social activist, public speaker and writer. She has gained wide recognition for her essays probing the personal, political and religious dimensions of the black female experience. She is a contributing writer for Essence magazine and is currently working on several books, including a novel, "Don't Call Me Angel," that explores the spiritual development of an African-American woman through the 1960s and 1970s and a spiritual memoir titled "God Sings Soprano: Discovering the Female Voice of God."

Dyson is currently a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania, where she heads the module on the Brazilian Diaspora for the Africana Studies Program. She is also a regular cultural and political commentator on WHUR-FM radio in Washington, D.C.

The summit workshops will include:

"Stress Management Techniques" with Betsy Taylor, director of the Wake Forest University Pro Humanitate Center. Taylor will focus on stress relief and meditation.

"Defining Self. Defining Power" with Konyka Dunson, Wake Forest graduate, writer and radio host from Washington, D.C. Dunson will explore concepts of self-definition from a cross-cultural perspective to help women understand how they form their identities, how society impacts identity and how self-definition forms the basis and trajectory of women's power. Participants will have the opportunity to examine their own self-definitions and how they define and embrace their own power.

"Japanese Women in America" with Kikuko Imamura, the first Japanese woman to come to North America after World War II and former study abroad advisor at Wake Forest. Imamura will share her own experiences and discuss the role and influence of Japanese women in America.

"The Keys for Attaining Professional Success and Maintaining Your Sanity at the Same Time — Strategies for Women of Color" with Jocelyn Burton, Wake Forest trustee, and Gwen Houston, vice president of Diversity and Global Staffing at the Campbell Soup Company. Burton and Houston, friends for more than 25 years, will focus on strategies for success for women of color and the importance of nurturing relationships.

"Sisters and the Law" with Denise Hartsfield, Forsyth County district court judge. Hartsfield will discuss issues affecting women in criminal and civil legal proceedings as well as financial legal security.

Artistic performances will be presented by several Wake Forest student organizations, including Unified Rhythms, the Wake Forest Gospel Choir, and Umoja, Wake Forest's new multicultural theatre ensemble.

The Sister's Inspirational Summit was initiated in 2003 by several female Wake Forest students as a counterpart to the annual Multicultural Male Summit held on campus. It is designed to provide networking opportunities and a chance for multicultural women to discuss issues important to them.

The summit is sponsored by the Wake Forest University Sister's Inspirational Summit steering committee, the Office of the Provost, the Pro Humanitate Center and the Student Activities Fee.

To pre-register, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 336-758-5864. On-site registration will be held in Benson University Center on the day of the event between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

For more information about the summit, contact Jeanetta Craigwell-Graham at (919) 922-2564 or Jennifer Chu at 336-758-8216 or