Event brings together women of color from across the Hopkins community

Students, staff, alums attend 'Voices of Color' event organized by sophomore Maya Foster

A female student speaks from a podium

Image caption: Sophomore Maya Foster (left) organized Wednesday's "Voices of Color" event with trustee Renée Chenault-Fattah (right).

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

This past October, sophomore Maya Foster approached trustee Renée Chenault-Fattah with an idea.

The neuroscience major wanted to create an event where women of color from across the Johns Hopkins community could discuss the obstacles they face, where students, staff, and alums could share personal and professional experiences and make meaningful connections.

The result: Wednesday night's "Voices of Color: A Dialogue with Hopkins Women," which brought together about 70 people—including eight alumnae mentors—for dinner and networking at Charles Commons.

"I wanted this to be a stepping stone to start addressing the issues women of color are facing and celebrate that we are also smart, talented, and high-achieving individuals," said Foster, who noted that she hoped to make the event an annual occurrence. "Many students and alums came up to me and expressed just how appreciative they were to have an event like this for women of color."

Foster organized the evening with the help of Chenault-Fattah—who she met at an October event titled "Hopkins Women Moving Forward"—along with the JHU Female Leaders of Color, Women and Gender Resources, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Alumni Association, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Alumnae participants were Chenault-Fattah, Deneen Hendrick, Jocelyn Kennedy, Patricia L. Gatling, Judy Smith, Monique Castillo, Karen Drakeford, and Wonda Cofield.

"It was a real honor to be part of such a special event," said Drakeford, a member of the Johns Hopkins Class of 1979. "The sharing of ideas, thoughts, and feelings between the various generations of women to help support our next generation of leaders forward is needed."