‘I AM H.E.R’ brunch provides opportunity to lift up, recognize WKU’s powerful women

La'Quan Richardson, News Reporter

The Intercultural Student Engagement Center hosted the ‘I AM H.E.R’ Woman of Worth Brunch on Saturday, a ceremony that was created to celebrate women who are doing good things in the WKU community.

The brunch included a speech from keynote speaker Jessica Nichols and an award ceremony for a few notable women on campus among students and staff.

Nichols, the daughter of ISEC benefactors Cynthia and George Nichols III, was a student at WKU just nine years ago, walking the same hills as the women on campus are today. She is now an alumna and a creative director for Vogue Magazine.

“I think it’s so important that we celebrate ourselves, as a woman I think that I’ve missed seeing people just count their victories and count their wins and cheer for themselves,” Nichols said. “Sometimes I forget to see all of the amazing things that I’ve done, and I think to have a month that’s just solely dedicated to reminding us of our greatness is so important.”

Nichol’s speech focused on the message of H.E.R, an acronym for heroic, empowering, and revolutionary, the theme of the brunch.

“You have to empower yourself to speak your mind, and I think when you own your ideas and your thoughts it then allows other people to have that freedom to say what’s on their mind too,” Nichols said. “It’s kind of contagious, but I think when you are not scared of being different and speaking up, that’s when you can really be empowered and in turn empower other people.”

An ISEC intern created the event in 2020 and Dr. Cres’Sena Thomas, associate director of the Intercultural Student Engagement Center, chose to keep it going. The brunch is a way to celebrate women on campus and highlight those who uplift others.

“It’s good for people who are currently at WKU to hear someone else’s testimony, especially an alum, because you never know how they may connect or how someone else’s experiences resonate with others,” Thomas said. “[It might] be that push for that young lady who might have been considering not coming back to WKU in the fall, that they too can make it.”

The fact that Black WKU students have role models, events and a system in place to offer support resonated with the attendees.

“Having a Black speaker, Black events for women, it’s very empowering knowing there is a support system and [we] have people we can look up to,” Aysha Stovall, one of the committee members for the brunch, said.

”After hearing Jessica Nichols’s speech, I walked away with her saying ‘when I look in the mirror, let her be my mirror’; I’m at that point in my life where I’m still trying to find my voice and be able to show off my radiance while also being ladylike and a woman,” Stovall continued. “It was so inspiring to see someone who’s been in my position speaking to all these college students, because one day, I could potentially be her.”

Nichols hopes the Black Women of Worth events continue to build and become a regular thing on campus where women can come together to celebrate each other.

News Reporter La’Quan Richardson can be reached at [email protected]