Marching down the mall on Friday, March 22, a group of Creighton community members showed their support for the empowerment of women.
The event started at the steps of St. John’s Church with speeches by keynote speakers Bianca Kang, a second year Medical School student, and Dr. Juliane Sokup, a professor in the Department of Chemistry.
Kang’s speech covered the topic of women in medicine.
She said, “At Creighton, I have had the tremendous privilege of surrounding myself with phenomenal role models and peers - male and female, alike.”
She went on to share stories about people that have impacted and empowered her throughout her journey at Creighton.
“My peers empower me as an individual and a woman. By taking time to let others into our lives, we support one another,” Kang said.
Sokup spoke after Kang, beginning her speech, “By coming today you are indicating your support for empowering women.”
She discussed the difficulties and inequalities women face in science and research.
“Our history has made it such that women, and many other groups, have been denied equal rights, and so it is important to educate others about the past in order to bring about a brighter future for women.”
Sokup also spoke of her admiration for the wives of the Creighton brothers, Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily, as the first role models of Creighton’s empowered women.
She was inspired by them as well as the support she has received throughout her lifetime, “It is because of the supportive environment I have had from very early on from my family, my educators and my colleagues that I am a confident woman in science – I have definitely been empowered by the wonderful people around me!”
After the speeches, the participants marched down the mall to Morrison Stadium and back to St. John’s holding signs that read, “The Future is Female,” and, “Girls Support Girls,” among others.
Upon their return to St. John’s, the group gathered to eat Qdoba and share in their camaraderie.
The event was organized by the Women’s March Empowerment Committee, which consisted of Creighton Students Union, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Lieben Center for Women, the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center and College of Arts and Sciences senior and former CSU president Patrick Marta.
“The Women’s Empowerment March is an important event on Creighton’s campus as it provides a place for students to live out the Jesuit Values, one being forming and educating agents of change. Yes, marching for one day alone will not change these things, but social justice has never been reached overnight. It’s marches and movements like this, along with the lobbying, legislation and protests across the world that create change,” said Donna Shabazi, junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and President of the Creighton Students Union.
“My favorite piece of the keynote speeches was when Bianca gave shoutouts to her friends on campus who make her a better woman each and every day, and it just reminded me of the community that this University has provided me,” Shabazi said.
Olivia Kennedy, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, agreed with the importance of the march.
“The march shows females on campus they have a place and they are not only supported but being lifted up. This impacts Creighton because our students are focused on social justice and of course being ‘WOMEN and men for others’ and having events like a Women’s Empowerment March is exactly that value in action. It just serves as evidence that we are what we believe.
“I feel like I’m finally being taken seriously and listened to by my peers and university.
“Hearing an accomplished female talk authentically makes me feel validated, and then even more motivated to make my mark as a woman,” Kennedy, a psychology major headed to graduate school next year, felt empowered by Sokup’s speech.