More than 40 people gathered at the Columbus Metropolitan Driving Park Library to celebrate the first annual Black Women and Girls’ Recognition Day on Monday.
Black Women and Girls’ Recognition Day was presented by the Education Foundation for Freedom and sponsored by The Women’s Place at Ohio State, which designs and facilitates leadership development programs for women faculty and staff.
The event included a dinner, community performances such as dance exhibitions, poets and singers, and scholarship presentations for four women that participated in Dr. Elaine Richardson’s middle-school literacy program who are now attending college.
Richardson, a professor of literacy studies in Ohio State’s Department of Teaching and Learning, was the director of an after-school program for girls of color in Columbus City Schools from 2010 to 2015. A few of the program’s former participants attended the event, including D’Alexandreiaa Wilder, a scholarship recipient and a second-year criminal justice major at the University of Toledo.
“It’s basically just a day to celebrate African-American women and girls,” Wilder said.
“I’m the oldest of eight kids. We have four sisters and four brothers and in my community, where I was raised and where I still live to this day, we don’t celebrate enough,” she said. “We feel like
everybody’s against us. I say we, as in the black culture.”
Richardson said she created the event as a way to continue her community work since the after-school program has ended.
“We want to promote post-secondary education and let young women know that there are people in the community who feel connected to their success,” Richardson said.
Wilder said her college experience at the University of Toledo meant a lot and that she hopes to work with and support special victims, especially women and children, in the future.
“I am a nerd. I love to learn. I love anything that has to do with me bettering myself,” she said. “So, for me to be somewhere doing better for myself for me, for my mom and for my seven siblings, it just makes me feel good. I know, at the end of my four years, we’re going to be cool. We’re going to be set.”
Wilder received a $300 scholarship to help with education expenses. The other recipients, who each received $300, included Jessica Cornute, a first-year at Savannah College of Art & Design, Loryn Johnson, a second-year at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Ayana Strickland, a first-year at Columbus State University.