VanderWoude delivers keynote

By Jose Arebalo, Scene Editor

On Saturday morning about a hundred women from the community showed up in attendance to the 12th annual Sisters in Solidarity celebration.

The event took place at the Richmond Memorial Convention Center with a focus on supporting the women in attendance through inspirational speakers and provide community resources.

Many notable speakers were slated for the event. Most recognizably, the keynote was delivered by Contra Costa College President Katrina VanderWoude.

“It’s an honor and a privilege just to be asked to speak,” Dr. VanderWoude said.

Her speech centered on how women, and particularly women of color, have been underrepresented in society.

“With breakout movies this year, like ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ Hollywood is seemingly embracing more diversity,” VanderWoude said. “There are more women behind the cameras and in the writers’ room. It is about time that the woman’s perspective actually influences the stories that get told,” she said.

The theme of this year’s celebration was visionary women, champions of peace and balance. VanderWoude spoke of her job at a community college as providing a “balance for the better.”

“Part of the work that we do at a community college is ushering people into the theater who don’t have a movie ticket,” VanderWoude said. The event included organizations rooted within Richmond and the surrounding East Bay area.

“Our community does have a level of respect for women, however, we want to teach our future generations that they can become future leaders as well,” VanderWoude said.

It’s important to prepare children from a young age to take on leadership roles, she said. Implementing programs like these, as early as middle school, is how communities should be supporting young female students, she said.

The event was organized by Richmond City Council staff member Trina Jackson.

“The purpose of the event is to provide information to the community,” Jackson said.

Residents have a hard time navigating the bureaucracy and miss potential benefits, she said.